Supporters of Tuapeka Mouth Ferry

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Heritage Hub: Skinner Road
Tuapeka Mouth,


Tuapeka Ferry: Ferry Road
Tuapeka Mouth,


The TUAPEKA RIVER DAM TRACK takes you to the 1920s concrete dam built by the Tamaiti Mining Company.  (See the track info for more info.)

An earlier dam was built 1905-1907 further upstream,  an impressive timber structure.

The company claimed that it was the “first embodiment of the principle in the Southern Hemisphere and the first construction of its kind in the world. The company has property at Tuapeka Flat about nine miles from Lawrence. The dam is built on the cub principle – that is, the framework is built of logs firmly bolted together. Part of the dam wall is also faced with timber. The width at the base of the wall is 38ft, tapering to12ft at the top, which is 30ft. 
A flume capable of carrying 70 cubic feet of water per second has been built at a height of 25ft. The dam contains 400 logs, mostly bluegum, varying from 15ft to 40ft in length with an average duiameter of 2ft. Also 700 yards of rock and 20000 yards of clay. …The water if conveyed from the flume, at a height of 25ft, through a lead pipe, 4ft in diameter, to drive a 26in Samson ingle-charge horizontal turbine, made by the James Leffel Company, Ohio, the estimated cost landed at Lawrence being 420pd. …
The power house and claim are lighted with electricity….
The work of the company is considered by all miners and speculators as being of material benefit in the development of the mining industry. It dispenses with long races, and can also be used for irrigation. …The works will be formally opened on the 9th November 2006.

    1907 Postcard         (Thanks to J Roughan)

  Panorama view

 Turbine and pumps below the dam in course of erection

...from the companies second annual report 1907: 
The directors, in submitting the attached balance-sheet for the year ending 16th August, 1907, have pleasure in reporting that the company's pumping plant continues to give unqualified satisfaction; but that, in common with the mining industry generally, operations have been much hampered by the long-prevailing drought. 
Sluicing was begun on the26th September last, and the gold won to date— viz., 4220z 4dwts, of the value of £1,653 Islid, must, in the circumstances, be regarded as a satisfactory output. The company's installation being the first of the kind in the Dominion, the Directors felt justified in approaching the Government for some financial assistance in meeting unforeseen expenses, and were successful in obtaining a subsidy of £250. ....
from Mr E. J. Highley, the company's mine manager: "The new claim I am just opening out is on the opposite side to one previously worked, but much higher upon the hill. This ground is just the same as the first worked above the power house. At present there is about 10ft of wash showing, carrying a little gold all through. This wash deepens the further we go into the hill. On top of wash is a seam of clay about 3ft deep, on top of this a seam of wash about 6in deep at present carrying very good gold, and a few feet of hard clay on top of this. It will only take a day or two to get through this, as itis very easy to break down with the nozzle. We have a large extent of ground in front of us, both for elevating and ground sluicing, which it will take years to work. Will have a wash-up in a fortnight's time or thereabouts. Two shifts of water at present is all I can get. To work this ground all claim plant and pipe-line had to be shifted to lift water 150ft. By raising the water to this height it commands all the ground about. The work of shifting the pipe-line, etc., took about a fortnight to accomplish.
Sluicing operations commenced on Monday, the 9th inst., at 4o'clock. The machinery is running excellently. Everything is successful so far. We have about 150ft of pressure at the nozzle with 3in tip on." 

There are just a few remains visible today. 

 1907 Tamaiti Dam in 2021