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Conroys Gully, Alexandra, Central Otago District, Otago Region, South Island, New Zealand

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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

Alluvial gold.

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.

Mineral List

1 valid mineral.

Regional Geology

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

ID: 3189657
Paleozoic-Mesozoic crystalline metamorphic rocks

Age: Phanerozoic (201.3 - 298.9 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Haast Schist

Comments: Caples Terrane

Lithology: Metawacke; greenschist/almandine amphibolite grade metasedimentary/metavolcanic schist

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. [154]

201.3 - 252.17 Ma

ID: 1310831
Caples Group TZIII schist

Age: Triassic (201.3 - 252.17 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Caples Group

Description: Schistose (TZIII) volcaniclastic sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and conglomerate with included volcanics and limestone; minor quartzite, metachert and serpentinite.

Comments: Eastern Province (Caples Terrane) Rocks

Lithology: Limestone, quartzite, chert, serpentinite

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. [12]

Norian - Kungurian
208.5 - 279.3 Ma

ID: 1350455
Undifferentiated Caples Terrane TZIII schist

Age: Phanerozoic (208.5 - 279.3 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Caples Group

Description: Well foliated psammitic and pelitic schist with incipient segregration; minor greenschist and metachert; qtz veins common; TZIII.

Comments: Basement (Eastern Province) metamorphic rocks. Age based on stratigraphic correlation, K-Ar dating

Lithology: Major:: {schist},Minor:: {psammite, pelite, metachert, greenschist}

Reference: Heron, D.W. . Geology Map of New Zealand 1:250 000. GNS Science Geological Map 1. [13]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


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Hutton F.W., Ulrich, G.H.F. (1875) Report on the Geology & Goldfields of Otago, Appendix 5 - The Conroy's Gully Reef, Near Alexandea. Mills, Dick & Co. Dunedin, 245 pages.
Tuapeka Times newspaper (1879) Alexandra, Vol. X11, issue 523, 30 April 1879.
McKay, A. (1894) Older Auriferous Drifts of Central Otago (Presented to both Houses of the General Assembly by Command of His Excellency), New Zealand Government.
Dunstan Times (1932) A Ballarat Miner Reminiscences (Alexander Don), issue 3562, 06 June 1932.
Lewis, K. (2011) The Ghosts of Potters. Old Man Range. Otago, Pick and Shovel, Cradle and Pan: 150 Years of Gold Discovery in Otago Southland and on the West Coast, Dunedin Family History Group.

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