Conroys Gully, Alexandra, Central Otago District, Otago Region, South Island, New Zealand
|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||45° 16' 37'' South , 169° 19' 45'' East|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||-45.27714,169.32928|
|Köppen climate type:||Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate|
During its peak 400 miners were operating in the gully, in basins called Muir Flat, Dawsons Flat, and Iversons Flat.
A large amount of gold was found here historically at the base of wash, gold nuggets sitting on the basement rock. 600 ounces was reported by a party of four men, and another 400 ounces by a separate party, both after four months work. Gold was found in a conglomerate quartz wash 4-5 feet thick. Gold mining here started from 1862, and the richest area was the gorge, which is now below the dam, partly covered in fruit orchards. An auriferous quartz drift was on the south-east side of the valley. Dips south-east.
As miners left, Richard Dawson, and Andreas Iverson built up substantial claims. Dawson had 2.4 hectares, and employed six men. Dawson would later establish fruit orchards in the area, now locally famous. Benny Clarke and the Martin brothers (as the Great Eastern lease) also were active.
During the 1870's, Chinese miners moved in to re-work prior claims. Dawson had sold a claim to a party of Chinese miners for 80 pounds, and another party had purchased James Muir's claim for 40 pounds. The Chinese had also purchased Dawson and Iverson's water rights. However, William Noble and Craven Paget held water rights further up the gully, but were required by law to allow a certain amount of water to flow to the Chinese claim. When this did not happen, the Chinese went to the warden's court. The warden compromised ordering half the required water to be released by Noble and Paget. It was suggested in the local papers, that had the party complaining been European, the warden would have stuck directly to the regulations.
On the other hand, Dawson complained to the warden that You Chow and party's claim was invalid as it had not been marked out correctly. Well known Alexandra miner and merchant James Rivers represented the Chinese, stating their lack of English, and understanding of fine print had caused the problem, however the claim was valid. The warden ruled the claim invalid, and open to all-comers, leading to a stampede from the court out to the lease to peg it. Predicting the outcome, the Chinese had pre-arranged a system of hand signals, and had re-pegged the lease before Dawson and others were even on their horses.
A company tried to work a reef here later, erecting much machinery, with local shareholders getting burned, when the operation found little gold beyond the worked out wash.
This reef strikes north-south, dips north 80 degrees, cutting flat bedded mica schist, with strongly interlaminated quartz. When inspected in 1875, the workings had already collapsed. The reef was said to be 6 to 18 inches wide, mullock dominant with some quartz running side by side down the reef, with well defined walls. The workings consisted of small shafts and open cuts, and an adit 600 feet long. The crushing machinery on the lease was sold to Samuel Williams on the Carrick Range (Bannockburn) goldfield elsewhere in the district.
By 1889, leases were virtually given away, and little gold remaining. Orchards gradually took over the area.
To reach cross the bridge to the south of Alexandra on State Highway 8, and immediately turn onto Earnscleugh Road, then left onto Chapmans Road, and left onto Conroys Road.
A Chinese miner's hut in the gully is marked as a historic site, as being part of a film about Chinese gold miners called Illustrious Energy.
1 valid mineral.
This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.
Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org
|Triassic - Permian|
201.3 - 298.9 Ma
|Paleozoic-Mesozoic crystalline metamorphic rocks|
Age: Phanerozoic (201.3 - 298.9 Ma)
Stratigraphic Name: Haast Schist
Comments: Caples Terrane
Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. 
201.3 - 252.17 Ma
|Caples Group TZIII schist|
Age: Triassic (201.3 - 252.17 Ma)
Stratigraphic Name: Caples Group
Comments: Eastern Province (Caples Terrane) Rocks
Reference: Edbrooke, S.W., Heron, D.W., Forsyth, P.J., Jongens, R. (compilers). Geology Map of New Zealand 1:1 000 000. GNS Science Geological Map 2. 
|Norian - Kungurian|
208.5 - 279.3 Ma
|Undifferentiated Caples Terrane TZIII schist|
Age: Phanerozoic (208.5 - 279.3 Ma)
Stratigraphic Name: Caples Group
Comments: Basement (Eastern Province) metamorphic rocks. Age based on stratigraphic correlation, K-Ar dating
Reference: Heron, D.W. . Geology Map of New Zealand 1:250 000. GNS Science Geological Map 1.