A Mining Tale…

Whether the events that follow actually occured is for the reader to decide…

Tuesday, 31 May, 1921, and outside the No. 2 Crosscut, 500 ft. in from the adit portal, the last shift of all, ever, was about to commence. The Kereru Gold Mining Co. Ltd., owner of the mine, had gone into liquidation, left its London offices and was in the process of dissolving.  The battery and cyanide plant were being removed; although built for £3 million (in 2017, valued at $256 million) their scrap metal value now only £200,000 ($17 million).

Only the mine remained to be ‘mothballed’; a euphemism for the removal of everything saleable, and as a result three men now stood at the No.2 Crosscut entrance, awaiting the start of the shift and to receive instructions from the Shift Boss.

The three – Fred Shaw, Oscar Levokjwix (‘Lev’, to his mates) and Charlie James, had worked  as Contract Miners for years – indeed, it had been for so long that none of them had any idea exactly when they had paired up. It was certainly before ‘The War’ (the Great War of recent memory), but before that?  No-one could recall, although if asked, they were definite that it was before Waihi and the infamous events of 1912.  Of that they were all certain.  As professional miners, they were renowned for their abilities and skills. Now, they waited, the flames from their hat-mounted carbide lamps the sole illumination. Invisible air currents made the flames gutter, placing dancing shadows on the surrounding walls, while in the silence, distant water echoed as it dripped from roofs in abandoned tunnels.

Albert Benton, the Shift Boss, arrived – eventually. He was a careful and experienced man, well-regarded by all in the mine, knowing his job and always cheerful. He was however ‘Company’ and as such, suspect.  He could never, despite any effort he might make, be equal with those who were waiting, a point understood by all and never discussed as a result.

Benton had certainly been a contract miner at one time, but with promotion came distance and the gap could never be bridged – at least, not in the present circumstances.  Another time, another place?  Perhaps,but just not now.

With Benton’s arrival came instructions, and the men were soon  at work uplifting rails, dismantling air and water lines, removing timber and tidying-up the area.  They all knew what they had to do and did it quickly and efficiently.  There was however a slight problem; the disposal of the four sticks of Nobel’s Dynamite (known universally as ‘Jelly’) and its associated roll of fuse cord. These essential tools of the gold-miners’ trade, as always, carefully placed to one side, albeit separately, would in other times have been combined together, inserted into the gold-bearing reef in specially-drilled holes, and the fuse lit. The explosion that resulted when flame met explosives would break the gold-bearing white quartz rock into pieces.   When loaded into wagons the ore was then taken away for processing.

At their morning crib (‘Smoko’ / meal break) Fred had looked at Albert Benton and asked “What about the Jelly and the cord?”  “Flaming Heck”, was the response, “I dunno’ – I can’t see the Company wanting it, and we can’t leave it here”.  A contemplative silence followed, until Lev spoke. “If we can’t leave ‘em, why don’t we blow ‘em’; problem solved?”   The others looked at him as if he was crazy, yet, the more they thought about it, the more sense it made.

But, where to carry-out the deed?   More discussion followed, until finally a conclusion was reached; the adjacent (and unfinished) No. 5 Drive would be ideal. The No. 2 Crosscut where the men were standing had been driven onto the Toi Toi Reef, and had produced some high-grade ore. However, the size of the reef was unknown, and to determine this, the Company had put exploratory tunnels into the area where it thought the reef might be.

The No.5 was one of these.  It had found nothing and had been abandoned.  As a place suitable to detonate unwanted explosives, it was ideal.

As Shift Boss, Albert Benton bore the final responsibility for any work being carried-out within his area, so ultimately, the decision was his.  Charlie James (who fancied himself a scholar) summarised it well: “To blow, or not to blow’ that is indeed the question”.  And so it was.  Time passed, and after due thought and consideration, Benton gave his assent, detailing Fred and Lev to “Do the necessary, do it quickly, and for heaven’s sake, do it safely!!”. “Yes sir”, came the reply and the two men quickly disappeared into the darkness, the flames from their helmet-mounted lamps making shadows on the walls as they went.   Denton and Charlie carried on, lifting, stacking, removing, as they waited for the others to return.

An hour passed, then suddenly lights appeared in the distance; Fred and Lev returning. They were moving rapidly and on their arrival, knowing what was to come, the group moved into the crosscut to wait.  A minute passed, then two, until finally a loud rumbling indicated that the explosives had ignited.  Mentally they all counted; ‘One’; ‘Two’; ‘Three’; Four’, and after the fourth explosion, they relaxed, thankful that the ‘disposal’ problem had been resolved.

Time passed and the work came to an end; everything cleaned-up, removed and the cross cut ready to be abandoned to whatever fate might befall it. With the passing of time, the fumes from the explosives would also have dissipated.  ‘Are you going back to have a look Mister Benton?’ Charlie asked.  “No, not today; no need; every sticks gone off, No.5 will be closed, and besides, once we’re out of here no-one will care.  No point”.  “Fair enough’, came Charlie’s response, ‘But can I go and have a look anyway, for old times’ sake.  We’ve all worked here and I can’t see us ever coming back again”. “Oh, very well, but don’t be long.  We’re finished here and I want to go home – and so do the others”.  Grunts of assent came from Fred and Lev

Charlie left the group, carefully making his way towards the entrance of No.5 Drive. From practice, he walked carefully, subconsciously noting every detail of the tunnel as he walked.   After five minutes he arrived at the entrance to the No.5 Drive, to find broken rock scattered everywhere.  The roof of the working had collapsed, the supporting timbers splintered and distorted, and everywhere, desolation.  This was to be expected. However, what was not expected was the sight of a thin yellow line at a point half-way along the right-hand side of the working; a thin yellow line in the white quartz rock, and also evident in a piece of quartz which he idly kicked with his boot as he entered.  Gold??? Surely not, and yet?  Quickly Charlie ran his thumbnail along the line.  Gold is soft and his nail left a mark on the line, so perhaps, just perhaps?  But, what to do?

He picked up and pocketed several small pieces of quartz, including three containing the mysterious yellow line.  The latter he put in his hatband, concealing them behind the lamp. This done, he started back to find the others; the journey seeming just a little shorter.

On his return, the usual questions followed: ‘What did it look like?’, ‘Did everything come down?’; ‘Did you find anything?’(this last from Benton).  He replied to them all, and, pulling the rocks from his pocket, showed them (especially Benton), what he had found. He did not mention the rocks in his hat band.

With that done and assurances given, the men walked back out to the adit portal, to daylight and an uncertain future. Mr. Benton told the Mine Manager that No.2 Crosscut was cleared of all machinery, rails and pipework, and that worthy in turn contacted the Company’s Attorney in Auckland to appraise him of the fact, the Attorney subsequently advising the Chairman of the Board (in London) of the situation. As a result, on 14 November 1921 the Chairman issued a statement to the effect that the Kereru Gold Mining Co. Ltd. had abandoned its mine.

There is not much more to tell. On 2 January 1922, the New Kereru Gold Mining Co. Ltd. was formed; the Principle Shareholders being Messers. Frederick Shaw, Oscar Levokjwix and Charles James.  According to its Prospectus, the  new entity’s purpose was ‘To explore and evaluate the site of the former Kereru Gold Mining Co. Ltd. and surrounding areas with a view to exploiting such resources as may be found within that area’.  The new organisation was subsequently granted a lease over 750 acres of the former company’s ground and curiously, quickly found extremely rich gold- bearing ore in the vicinity of the No. 2 Crosscut. The ore was especially rich within the former No.5 Drive, the deposit there-in being subsequently christened the Alton Patch by the Principle Shareholders. Oddly, none of these (subsequently knighted) gentlemen would ever divulge the origins of the name.

Of Albert Benton, nothing more was ever heard…

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A Mining Tale…

BOOK REVIEW: ‘C-130 Hercules: A History’.

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BOOK REVIEW

Reviewer: Michael Keith

Title: C-130 Hercules: A History

Author: Martin Bowman

Total Number of Printed Pages: 320

Rating Scale (1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent) 6

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On the opening page of Chapter I of this volume, the author states ‘Everyone knows the Hercules – even those who are unaware of its C-130 military designation know exactly what it does, this bulky, squat but lovable aircraft with the reassuring face of a friendly seal pup and whaled tail’. It is a fair summation of both the aircraft and the book; the latter being about the many faces and uses of the former.

The volume consists of 12 Chapters, there being no Introduction prior to Chapter 1.Within these the reader is introduced to the personnel who flew (and still fly) the aeroplane. It should be noted however that many of the Chapters take the form of personal reminiscences that have been sourced from other publications; they are not original to this volume. Technical details relating to the C-130’s development, variants, and uses in both military and civilian roles are also provided. Where additional information is required, this is presented in the form of sequentially-numbered and chapter-specific end-notes, the relevant citations appearing at the end of each Chapter.  Three Appendices follow the Chapters. Their self-explanatory titles are: Commercial and Humanitarian Operators past and Present (Appendix I); World Military User Dictionary (Appendix II); and Models and Variants (Appendix III). A single-page Acknowledgments completes the book. Within it, the author thanks those who assisted him in writing the volume. Numerous colour and black and white photographs appear in the book, some being sourced, some not. Their existence is not however mentioned on the Contents page.  The single map that the book contains, refers to a specific series of events narrated within Chapter 3 (The Last flight of the ‘Stray Goose’). The volume contains no plans, 3-view drawings or diagrams relating to its subject. There is also no Bibliography, Glossary (To explain the myriad military acronyms that occur throughout the volume) or Index.

When requesting this volume for review, this reviewer had certain expectations of it. One of these was that he would be able to find specific locations, units and variants of the basic C-130 airframe quickly and easily through the use of an Index. In that expectation he was wrong; there is no Index. Perhaps spoiled by his experience with other books of a similar nature, he also expected to find at least a basic 3-view drawing of the aircraft. In this he was again wrong, Although regrettable, these failings could possibly have been overlooked. However, what could not be overlooked was the complete absence of any reference to either Australia or New Zealand in the World Military User Directory (Appendix II); this despite an entire chapter (Chapter 9 The Antipodean Hercules) being devoted to these two air arms!! The discovery of proof-reading errors was also not helpful, and created an overall impression of a ‘sloppy’ book, while raising doubts about the volume’s veracity and authority on its subject.

The previous details notwithstanding, this volume is likely to appeal to all and anyone who has been associated with the C-130 in whatever capacity, with Vietnam-era C-130 aircrew in particular likely to find some of the content nostalgic. Those with a more-general interest in the type may also find the volume worthy of their attention. The colour photographs may be of use to both aircraft and military modellers.

On a Rating Scale where 1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent, I have given this volume a 6.

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘C-130 Hercules: A History’.

INKTOBER 2017: ‘Poison’

Inktober is an annual international fun challenge for whomever cares to participate. The Inktober organisers post a list of numbered daily ideas for ‘inspiration’ for each day of the month of October, and respondents are then invited to post one original pen and ink piece per day, based on that ‘inspiration’ , on their favourite pen and ink site.

It’s fun and quite challenging. Herewith another example that I I have submitted for Inktober 2017

Inktober Challenge ‘Poison’.

#Inktober#Inktober2017

‘Pois on Ivy’ (My interpretation of the word ‘Poison’).

Technical Details: Staedtler 0.05, o.1 and 0.2 nib black-ink pens on 80gsm A4 paper.

Dimensions: 7 in. x 5 in.

This was a fun ‘play on words’ in response to my (Polynesian) Wife’s suggestion.

Note: ‘The traditional poi (light ball made of raupo – swamp plant – attached to a flax rope, which can be either long or short) was used in Māori action songs and dances.’(1) .
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(1) [n.a.], Traditional Maori Sports and Games’ [online], New Zealand in History, <http://history-nz.org/poi.html> [accessed 3 October 2017].

 

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INKTOBER 2017: ‘Poison’

BOOK REVIEW: ‘British Destroyer’s & Frigates: The Second World War And After’

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Reviewer: Michael Keith

Title: British Destroyer’s & Frigates: The Second World War And After

Author: Norman Friedman

Total Number of Pages:  352

Rating Scale (1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent: 7

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Naval vessel-types have a very distinct hierarchy. At the top are the aircraft carriers (the Queen Bees; if you will); at the bottom, the Worker Bees; the destroyers and the frigates; the vessels that (at least in the opinions of their crews) do the actual work. This is their story; specifically, it is the story of the development and evolution of the destroyers and frigates used by both the Royal Navy and the Commonwealth navies it is affiliated to.

The story is a complex one and in the course of its narrative the reader is introduced to the multitudinous issues which effect and contribute-towards warship design. The numerous non-naval influences which must also be considered (especially in regards to ‘matters political’), are also discussed.

Although the Contents list indicates the Introduction is the first section to appear after it, a single-page List Of Abbreviations holds that honour. There is however no reference to its existence on the Contents page. That detail notwithstanding, the Introduction provides a multi-page summation of the material that appears within the Chapters which follow. A single-column Acknowledgements subsection placed within this section thanks those who assisted with the volume’s creation. The Introduction is followed by the 15 Chapters which comprise the bulk of the volume. The Chapters narrate the development of the two vessel- types over the 1939-2006 period covered by this volume.  It should be noted however that, for purposes of continuity, the volume’s narrative actually commences before World War II. Within the individual Chapter, each page consists of two columns of print. Footnotes are used within each Chapter to provide additional information. These are numbered consecutively within each Chapter, with the citations (where used) appearing at the foot of  each column. Where necessary, subsections within an individual Chapter provide additional elaboration on a specific part of the larger narrative within that particular chapter. Their existence is not however acknowledged on the Contents page. A single-page Bibliography follows the final Chapter and is itself followed by an eight-page section titled Data Tables. This section contains specifications for the vessels referred to within the volume. The information is presented in columnar and tabulated form. Relevant notes appear at the end of each individual section. These are not however in Footnote format but rather occupy the width of the individual section. Abbreviations are used throughout the section. Of these, a small number also appear on the previously-mentioned List Of Abbreviations (in one instance [DCT] with a different meaning).  The majority are however, section-specific, and their meanings are listed in a column appearing at the head of the section, A List of Ships section follows. This provides construction and paying-off details (or, if not relevant, the vessel’s fate) of every destroyer or frigate constructed by British dockyards from 1936 onwards. It also uses abbreviations (albeit in a smaller quantity) and these are placed at the front of the section. An Index completes the volume.  This book contains numerous descriptively-captioned monochrome Photographs from a variety of sources, together with plans and profile drawings of individual vessels. Tables are used for comparative purposes where required. Concept paintings have been utilised where relevant to the narrative while photographs of armaments and electronic antennae are included where necessary.  There is no reference to the existence of any of these (photographs, tables etc.) on the Contents page, although the Index does state that ‘Page references in Italics refer to illustration captions’..

The volume is well-written, researched and eminently readable. It is likely to appeal a variety of readers and may well become a standard reference work on its subject. The potential readership could include both naval personnel, and those with a general interest in the Royal Navy.. Those with a more general interest in naval and maritime matters are also likely to find this volume of interest. ‘The many photographs and drawings are likely to be invaluable to both ship modellers and to marine artists with an interest in British naval vessels.

In this regard, and because of the likelihood of ‘high use’ by its purchasers, this reviewer did wonder if the volume should perhaps have been printed in a ‘hard cover’ format; if only to prolong its cover life.

For this reviewer, this volume is let down by the ‘small details. The result is a ‘Good’ book;  it could have been a ‘Great’ book.

On a Rating Scale (1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent, I have given it a 7.

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘British Destroyer’s & Frigates: The Second World War And After’

Te Kereru Mining and Investment Co. Ltd.

I have long been interested in the nineteenth-century underground gold mines of New Zealand’s  Coromandel Peninsula. The need to develop these mines to their fullest potential required very large amounts of money and the latest technology – at that time only available from London, the financial and mining-technology centre of the world. Thus were British capital, Victorian-era steam-powered machinery and British manufacturing skills brought to bear on the Coromandel.

However, two problems needed to be solved: how to remove the gold-bearing rock in the most efficient manner, and having done this, how to extract as much gold as possible. The pursuit of these aims constituted New Zealand’s first heavy industry of any consequence. Developing the necessary technology, especially the use of potassium cyanide for gold-extraction, meant that for a period the New Zealand quartz gold mining industry led the world.

In one way the Te Kereru Mining and Investment Co Ltd. layout is a homage to this era and industry. In another it is also a teaching tool, showing in miniature how things were in ‘the olden days’, and introducing the viewer to a little-known aspect of New Zealand history.

The Backstory

1893: While hunting Kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae; the New Zealand  Pigeon) in the hills of New Zealand’s Coromandel Penisula, W.V. James discovers a gold and silver-bearign reef (‘lode’) near Toi Toi Creek – somewhere north of Karanagahake, and south of Port Jackson.

1895: The Te Kereru Mining and Investment Company (Limited. is formed in London and is soon driving horizontal tunnels (or adits) into the reef to explore the size of the deposit and commence the mining of the ore it contains.

1897: The Company begins constructing a 40-stamp battery / reduction-works for use in conjunction with the recently-introduced MacArthur-Forrest cyanide process. The work includes the construction of a steam-powered railway to connect the mine workings with the battery. This required the construction of a short tunnel through an adjacent ridge.

1898 (November); Ore trains begin running.

1900:  Having found that the reef system descends much deeper than can be reached via horizontal adits, the Company sinks a shaft (the Toi Toi) to better mine the reef and to prospect further.

1901: The Toi Toi Shaft reveals that the reef system is increasing in value as it descends, and as a result, an additional 20 stamps are added to the battery.

1911: The cyanide plant is updated. This includes four tall Brown and McMiken (B&M) air-agitator tanks measuring 13.7 metres x 6.0 metres( 45 ft. x 20 ft.) placed towards the rear of the site. A vacuum-filtration  plant and hydraulic classifier are also added.

1913 (The present time): The Company’s upgrades are payign off and its gold and silver production is the alrgest within the district. The Toi Toi Shaft is currently 144.7 metres (475 ft.) deep and values are showing no sign of decreasing at this depth.

The Model

Te Kereru  (pronounced Tea -Care-Rare-Roo) was intended to portray by way of a small layout,  the main elements in this fictional history, a scenario that drew heavily on large-scale gold mines once found at Thames, Karangahake (Car-rang-ah-hack-ee) Komata (Co mah-tah), Coromandel and Waihi (Y-he) These and my own personal experiences provided the technical background.

My intention was always to make Te Kereru a technically and historically accurate portrayal of a neglected part of New Zealand’s history. I wanted the layout to be in N scale, portable, and able to fit between my car’s rear wheel arches. And it had to be ready for public exhibition within three months! It was, and at that and several other exhibitions has received encouraging comments from both the public and other modellers.

Of course I did not start from scratch. Te Kereru is the final development of a series of micro layouts beginning in 2006 with the Kaisers Reef (Hauraki) Gold Mining Co (NL) cutlery drawer-based layout seen at the 2008 New Zealand Model Railway Guild convention in Taradale (Napier).   I subsequently enlarged the ‘Kaiser’s concept, and created the Te Kereru Mining and Investment Co Ltd’ , (‘Te Kereru’ being pronounced: Tea Care-rare-roo), a portable ‘clockwork mouse’ layout designed for exhibitions and, for ease of transportation, capable of fitting in between the wheel arches of my Nissan Primera sedan’s rear seat.

Construction

The baseboard measures 1066mm x 508mm (3ft 6in x 2ft), comprising a sheet of MDF with strips of 20mm x 30mm pine glued on the outside edges to form a frame for a 12.7mm–thick sheet of ‘Pinex–brand  soft-board laid on top. A three-ply scenic divider conceals a small fiddle yard and work area, while a tall ridge separates the site of the Toi Toi (Toy-toy) Creek mining operations from the ore processing area. I have employed self-developed a New Zealand-specific variation of UK N scale (1:148), with suitably modified N-scale rolling stock.

Track and wiring

The track is roughly oval in shape, laid with Peco N scale Code 80 flextrack pinned to the Pinex. Exhibition-based experience and discussions with respected model railway peers convinced me that points can be a source of many problems, and since the viewing public rarely commented it seemed that omitting them would be a contribution to reliable running. The layout does however have three nominal sidings (at the mine, the battery and the locomotive shed beside the battery). These are supposedly one-blade mining tramway type units and are non-working.

Power feed is simply two wires attached to my veteran Hammant & Morgan power unit.

Scenery

Basic scenery was constructed from blocks of high-density plastic foam overlaid with kitchen towels. Pollyfilla was applied over this, followed by acrylic tube colours, predominantly white, black, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, yellow and blue.  Vegetation is Woodland Scenics Coarse Foliage. Ground cover consists of a variety of dried sawdusts, held in place by PVA and superglue.

The sky is deliberately white in colour — to help portray the anti-cyclonic gloom frequently found on the Coromandel Peninsula and emphasises the contrast between the bush and structures. Comments from residents of the area, indicate that I have successfully captured the atmosphere of the area.

Structures

All Te Kereru’s structures are scratch-built, designed to provide examples typical of the various evolutionary phases of large-scale nineteenth century underground goldmines in the Coromandel.

As well as the major mine and battery buildings there is a water-race, with race inspector’s hut, a locomotive shed; goods sheds at both the mine and battery, and various other tanks and buildings.

At Toi Toi there is a substantial amount of trestle work and a large dump for waste rock (mullock)  from the mine.

An abandoned traction engine remains at Toi Toi from when it served as a stationary boiler to power an air compressor in the mine’s early days. Contrast that with the new fangled telephone recently installed to connect the General Manager’s office at the battery Te Keruru office with the Mine Manager’s at Toi Toi.

The tall B&M (Brown and McMiken) air-agitator tanks at the battery form part of the battery’c cyanide plant and are typical of early examples, while the Toi Toi Shaft’s 65ft (20m)-tall head frame (or Poppett Head) is similar to those at Thames, Waihi and Coromandel.

Material and methods

A wide variety of discarded materials were used in constructing Te Kereru. Almost everything was made from off-cuts, such as the scraps of picture framer’s matte board used for buildings, or the discarded overhead transparency film used for window glazing.

The battery’s windows, having multiple panes, were first scribed to create the mullions, then covered with white paint, which when wiped off with a damp cloth left paint within the scribed lines – instant multi-paned windows!

Mining plant, having only a short life-expectancy, was constructed as cheaply as possible, and in New Zealand low-cost corrugated iron was the primary form of cladding. My ‘corrugated iron’ was 1970s-era embossed wallpaper and I made the B&M tanks from toilet-roll inners, with propelling-pencil leads being used for over-flow pipes and card for the deflectors installed at the tops of the tanks. . . The Toi Toi Shaft head frame was built from square-section strip balsa and card, and the mine ore trucks from cork roadbed, with propelling-pencil leads for the axles. Items I could not make, (such as track, people and animals), were purchased.

Detailing

I enjoy the possibilities for detailing, and as a result various small vignettes appear on the layout. These include a cage in the Toi Toi Shaft head frame with a worker putting a lot of effort into manoeuvreing an empty ore wagon back inside before it returns underground, two men using a pinch-bar to get an ore-truck back on the rails at the entrance to one of the tunnels, and the telephone-line repairman up a pole near the water-race, replacing a line that has been broken.  His two pack-horses (one carrying saddlebags) graze below him.  There are other similar mini scenes as well, though they may not be evident at first glance.

Rolling stock

Motive power is an N-scale Bachmann 0-6-0 Plymouth switcher reworked to look something like a Manning-Wardle street tramway locomotive.  This was supposedly imported by the company from a bankrupt British system.  Wagons are scratch-built, mainly of the mainly of the side-tipping-type and mounted on single N-scale bogies’.

Several flat-deck wagons do static duty at the goods sheds at Toi Toi and the battery.   Because of the severe curvature, a simple type of hook and pin coupler is used. At the standard N scale viewing distance of two feet (600mm), these rarely elicit comment.

People and creatures

Te Kereru has various people and animals within its boundaries.  People are doing a variety of jobs, from shovelling coal outside the battery’s boiler house, to the telephone-line repairman previously-mentioned.  At Toi Toi, pit ponies haul ore and timber wagons as needed.

Things that lurk in the forest

There is a resident dinosaur in the bush country between the battery and the mine. A reclusive creature, it is only seen at exhibitions, mainly by small children. He has proven singularly successful as an ice breaker with members of the public.  With the children indulging in a dinosaur hunt the parents can be engaged in conversation and left free to actually look at what is on the layout.

Is it narrow gauge?

I am frequently asked if the layout is 009 or some narrow gauge variation on Z gauge (Nn3 perhaps). The questioners are invariably surprised that it is in fact conventional N scale, rather than the apparent narrow gauge that prompted the question.  The narrow gauge look is not intentional, but seems to have evolved of its own accord. For that I have no explanation.

Public reaction

My wife accompanies me to exhibitions, and she has noted that because of the clockwise direction that model railway exhibitions tend to follow, members of the public mostly approach from the Te Kereru  or battery (left hand) end.  Having given the layout a quick once-over, and seeing little to interest them, they then move on, to suddenly notice Toi Toi at the other end, hiding behind some hills and trees.  The reaction is frequently one of surprise accompanied by a ’wow’ of amazement, and followed by a closer investigation. Some people have even been observed dragging their mates back to share in the discovery.

Frequent comment is made concerning the detail that has been incorporated into Te Kereru, along with surprise as to how much detail is possible in such a small scale  and space. We have also noticed that because of its height — it simply rests on a conventional trestle table — small children and people in wheelchairs seem to get the best of views.

The future?

Te Kereru has so far attended several exhibitions and been well received. It is reliable and fun and gets lots of positive comments from viewers, so its appearances will continue. In between times it is still being detailed and added to.

Layout at a glance

Name: Te Kereru Mining and Investment Co. Ltd.

Scale: N (1:148).

Size: 1.066.8mm x 508mm. (42″ x 24″).

Prototype: Various Coromandel Peninsula gold mining tramways.

Period: 1913.

Locale: Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand

Layout Style: Portable.

Height: Approximately 1m (height of trestle table).

Length of mainline: 2.72m.

Track: Peco code 80 flextrack

Points/Turnouts: None.

Control:  Conventional 240-volt transformer.

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

General view of layout showing Toi Toi mining area at bottom of layout and battery/ reduction-works site visible at upper LH corner.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

Detail view of Toi Toi Mining area showing various adits and tramways. Poppett Head of Topi Toi shaft visible at center-right foreground.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

A view from Mullock heap (Waste rock) area showing surface buildings associated with the Toi Toi shaft. The tramway goods shed and the tracks of the steam-powered tramway. are visible at LH centre and at bottom of the image. Various adits and mining-related tramways are visible in the background.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

View along Mullock Heap trestle, looking towards Toi Toi shaft

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

View of Upper Toi Toi Valley showing various adits and mullock heaps (Waste rock dumps).

(Scale: 1:148)

toi-toi-115

TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

Braceman maneuvering ore wagon into cage on upper Brace of Toi Toi shaft.

(Scale: 1:148)

toi-toi-general-view-of-workings-looking-towards-toi-toi-shaft-winding-engine-house-no-6-adit-bins-in-foreground-no-2-adit-behind-it-steam-tramway-tunnel-portal-visisble-at-bottom-left

TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

View of western section of Toi Toi mine workings, showing No.6 adit and ore-Bins and  steam-powered tramway tracks. The Toi Toi Shaft and Winding-Engine House is visible in background.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

Steam-tramway locomotive No.1 arriving at the battery with a rake of wagons. General view of 60-stamp battery/reduction works and cyanide plant. B&M tanks visible at left, with tracks of steam-powered tramway visible at bottom of photograph.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

A general view of the battery / reduction-works area  The 60-stamp battery is in the taller part of the large building that also houses the cyanide plant. There is a hand-fired boiler in the smaller foreground shed. The tracks of the steam tramway are just visible

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

Detail image of the modern Brown and McMiken Air-agitator tanks installed at the Te Kereru Mining and Investment Co. Ltd.’s battery in 1912.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

Aerial view of Battery, Company offices, Cyanide plant B&M Tanks, Pump House Tailings Dam and Locomotive Shed.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

A detail view of the Company’s water-race headstock and siphon, with waste water discharging over the spillway to the right. The Water-race Inspector is visible on the bridge, while his hut is visible behind the telephone pole.

(Scale: 1:148)

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TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

An image of the Company’s water-race  and its recently-installed and modern telephone system which connects the Battery with the mine. A recent storm has removed the wires so a repairman can be seen on top of the pole, reconnecting the line. His pack horses are grazing patiently below him.

(Scale: 1:148)

trmway-locomotive-shed2014-11-26-11-33-22

TE KERERU MINING AND INVESTMENT CO. LTD.

Tramway locomotive shed.

(Scale: 1:148)

__________________________

Note: No photographs of the dinosaur have been discovered.

Te Kereru Mining and Investment Co. Ltd.

Book Review: ‘British Battlecruisers 1905-1920’

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Reviewer: NZ Crown Mines)

Title:  British Battlecruisers 1905-1920

Author: John Roberts

Total Number of Pages: 128

Rating Scale (1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent): 6

____________________

Compromise can sometimes have unexpected consequences, with ‘theory’ not being supported by actual experience. So it proved with the ‘Battlecruiser-type’ warship. In theory a warship which was fast enough to overtake its opponents and (by being equipped with very heavy gun armament), be able to then destroy them, was an excellent idea. The reality was somewhat different, and as with many compromises, it was ultimately unsuccessful in its application.

This volume was originally published in 1997, and revised and reprinted in 2016. It covers the rise and fall of the battlecruiser-type warship within the Royal Navy.  Unlike many other works on such vessels, this book concentrates on the technical aspects of the type. Numerous Photographs, Tables, Drawings, Plans and Diagrams, contribute to the narrative. In addition, a set of Original Plans In Colour of HMS Invincible appear in the middle of the work. Looking suitably nostalgic by virtue of the colours employed, these include a fold-out section and are supplemented by an additional monochrome plan (that of HMS Queen Mary, 1913). This resides in a specially-designed pocket inside the back cover.

The volume consists of 16 un-numbered sections. A Preface to New Edition [sic] section is followed by one titled Abbreviations which is devoted to the abbreviations used throughout the work. An Introduction provides details of the World War I operational service of Royal Navy battlecruisers. Three other sections cover the history, development and construction of the battlecruiser-type vessel within the Royal Navy. Additional sections provide detailed analysis of the machinery, armament and armour that such vessels carried. A Summary of Service section details the naval service of most of the vessels referred-to within the volume, although HMS Hood is conspicuously absent.   A Sources section serves as a Bibliography. Within each chapter, sequentially-numbered endnote markers are used to provide additional source information. The relevant sources appear in a separate Notes section. An Index is provided. The existence of the previously-mentioned Photographs, Tables, Drawings and Diagrams is not mentioned within the Contents section, while the Index states only that ‘Page references in Italics denote photographs / diagrams’.

To this reviewer, this volume’s title implied a full history of the battlecruiser type of vessel. Such was not the case. He found instead a work that concentrated almost exclusively on the technical details of the type, and ignored all post-World War I service of its subjects.  He was especially surprised to find  no mention of HMS Hood  (the ultimate, and most famous British battlecruiser) in the volume’s Summary of Service section; this despite photographs and technical details of this vessel appearing within the work. As the loss of this ship forms a major part of Great Britain’s recent naval history, this is a major omission which reduces the volume’s authority.

This volume is likely to appeal to several groups. These could include those seeking technical information concerning Royal Navy battlecruisers per se’. Those interested in sea-going artillery and naval design and Historians with an interest in World War I or in naval, and military matters may find it worthy of inspection.   Warship modellers seeking details about specific vessels may also find it a useful source of information. Those seeking details of the post-World War I service of these vessels, and of HMS Hood in particular, are however, likely to be disappointed.

On a Rating Scale (1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent), I give it a 6.


nzcrownmines is also available for book reviewing: Contact nzcrownmines@gmail.com

Book Review: ‘British Battlecruisers 1905-1920’

PAGES FROM A SKETCHBOOK: THINGS THAT ARE DRAWN ON WET AFTERNOONS…

A wet afternoon (despite it being high summer), so herewith some doodles. I trust they will be of interest.  These are examples of the sorts of machinery and structures associated with underground (reef/hard-rock) gold mining on New Zealand’s Coromandel peninsula during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.

Media: Unipin-brand black-ink pen (0.1 mm nib) on A5-sized 140gsm white cartridge paper.

All images are copyright.

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POPPETT HEAD 

Also known as ‘Headframes’, these structures are placed at the surface (top) of vertical shafts, and, through the use of cables and cages (the equivalent of elevator cars) raise and lower men and materials to various places within the mine.

The various biuldings associated with the mine are visible in the background, with the most important being the Winding Engine House immediately behind the ‘head which contains a steam-powered winch. This uses cables, led over large-diameter wheels placed on the top of the ‘head and attached to the roofs of the cages to haul these  the cages up and down in response to set bell-signals from the miners travelling within them.

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Poppett Head and Winding-Engine House with surface buildings,. The flag visible on the on flagpole indicates that Company is on gold.

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Winding-engine house and Poppet Head (Headframe), with another Poppet Head and Mullock (waste rock) heap in distance. Ore bin visible at lower right.

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Locomotive No.2 at ore bins. Mullock (Waste rock) heap visible at right.

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 Tramway locomotive setting back (Reversing) with a rake of ore wagons into Battery / Reduction works.
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 Battery / Reduction-works, showing cyanide plant and associated buildings. A water-race is visible in upper-left background, tramway trestle to upper right. 
PAGES FROM A SKETCHBOOK: THINGS THAT ARE DRAWN ON WET AFTERNOONS…