‘No Water - No Gold - Applied hydrology in nineteenth century gold mining.'

 

By Dr Michael Tracey BA (Hons) (ANU), PhD (ANU)

 

Copyright

Proceedings of the Australian Mining History Association 1996 Conference and this article are copyright. Apart from any fair dealings for the purposes of study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means without permission. Enquires should be made to the Publisher or Author.

 

 

Publisher

Australian Mining History Association

Mel Davies, Secretary, AMHA

Department of Economics

University of Western Australia

Nedlands 6907

Western Australia.

 

 

Bibliographic Reference:

Tracey, M, M., 1997 ,‘No Water - No Gold; Hydrological technology in nineteenth century gold mining - an archaeological examination’ The Australian Historical Mining Association- Conference Proceeding 1996, Ruth Kerr and Michael MacLellan Tracey (eds) Home Planet Design and Publishing, Canberra.

 

‘No Water - No Gold - Applied hydrology in nineteenth century gold mining.'

 

Abstract

Various methods of gold extraction involving water were employed on the Australian goldfields from simple gold pans to complex methods of hydraulic sluicing and dredging. Limited historical descriptions are available for the complex processes and minimal archaeological research has been conducted to identify and analyse these remains. A healthy difference of opinion prevails between the historian and the archaeologist as to how to identify and describe these workings. This paper explores these points of discussion and the need for caution in relying on historical sources for archaeological field survey and certain archaeological evidence supporting alluvial ground sluicing. Sites discussed include abandoned mines on the Argalong, Orara goldfields and Little Bombay on the Shoalhaven goldfield.

 

Introduction

‘In any country where mining is carried on water is the great motive power for carrying on mining operations, not only for hydraulic sluicing, but also the operation of machinery’ (Gordon 1894:256).

 

Water is recognised as a long-standing servant of humans. In prehistoric times water provided one environment for the procurement of food by the hunting of waterfowl and fish. Water was used in the grinding and manufacturing of stone tools and as humans developed and migrated worldwide it became the vector for transport when simple watercraft were developed. Civilisations such as the Sumerians and the Egyptians arose in the river valleys of the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile rivers. Early acknowledgment of the kinetic potential of water was recognised by the Sumerians, Egyptians and perhaps even earlier by the Chinese. Pumps, dams and modification of natural watercourses began to serve humans for agricultural endeavours. Using simple physics and well designed engineering and hydrological techniques water supported the rise great empires such as the Romans. As humans began to use water for agricultural purposes another application of water recognised in its ability to erode the earth. Arguably water was used in the mining of precious, semi-precious and utilitarian minerals. The Chinese became masters at the control and use of water for agricultural purposes and the mining of tin. The Chinese extracted gold and tin in Borneo using alluvial methods derived and developed from agricultural techniques as early as 1700 (Jackson 1970).

 

The worldwide goldrushes of the 19th century made valued use of water in mineral extraction and most early mining was based on some use of water for the extraction of auriferous material from alluvial deposits. Often specific details of past working procedures of the mining industry are misinterpreted. Such misconceptions may stem from a lack of data or lack of detail of the mining procedure or inaccuracy in the description of the mining operation in the historical record.

 

An apology must be made to the efforts of those who used the method of dry blowing or deep lead mining for the extraction of auriferous material. The title of the paper is used metaphorically to encompass the alluvial extraction process in one site and its definite reliance on water for the operation of that site and the comment of an old miner from the Braidwood district (Richardson 1996 pers. comm.). Other alluvial mining sites Kangaroo Creek on the Orara Gold Field near Grafton and Argalong on the Agalong Gold Field near Tumut in NSW with similar water supply conditions are used as a comparison to the hydrological techniques employed at the main site of Little Bombay west of Braidwood on the Shoalhaven Gold Field in south eastern New South Wales.

 

Figure 1: Location map of Bombay and Little Bombay

 

A question of history

The evidence presented for this applied technology at Little Bombay near Braidwood NSW is based on field surveying and mining handbooks. The Shoalhaven River Gold field was ranked amongst the richest in the Australian gold mining story and is one of the least documented and understood. A mine at Yalwal on the Shoalhaven River Gold Field yielded 24 ounces the ton and worked well into the twentieth century. Blainey’s ‘Rush that Never Ended’, the most frequently referenced work on Australian mining history, fails to mention the Shoalhaven Valley. Recently investigative work of historic nature has been conducted by historians and heritage consultants, however, minimal formal archaeological recording, analysis and interpretation of these sites has been undertaken. ‘Bungonia to Braidwood’ a recent publication directed towards ‘the general public … at the local level and as a guide to teachers and specialist’ is a detailed and well researched historical overview of the area (McGowan 1996). However, further formal archaeological investigation would be desirable to accurately define the mining processes and practices.

 

There is little doubt that many of the older mines in this area rank among the earliest applications of specific technology in the country and are important to the understanding of mining procedures, ethnic relations, and social and settlement patterns in early Australia. Many sites along the Shoalhaven River valley have remained undisturbed since they were abandoned or mining operations ceased and are precious heritage areas that may be destroyed if the construction of the Welcome Reef dam to augment Sydney’s water supply proceeds. Therefore it is essential that these areas are examined and recorded from and archaeological perspective.

 

History, archaeology and the understanding of technology

This raises the much debated issue as to what is a historical survey and what is an archaeological field investigation? Can the two disciplines work together or are the philosophies of history and archaeology so far apart that consensus is no longer available. Often historians and archaeologists do not stay on their side of the fence that arguably does divide the two disciplines but seek to precariously balance on top of the fence itself. They swing to and fro grasping at evidence from both the archaeological record and the historical archives to patch together an argument. This has given rise to the bastard prodigy of both disciplines the historical archaeologist. Considered a second class citizen by some historians and alienated by the purist prehistorian the archaeologist who uses text to assist in analysis and interpretation is tolerated but often misunderstood by both disciplines. History is not a band-aid to patch up a program of poor archaeological investigation nor is the purpose of archaeology a proving tool for the historian. However, sometimes these attitudes prevail and may be evidenced in Government reports, journals and local or regional histories. Often these academically untested documents, not always authored by persons qualified in either disciplines, are accepted and quoted in academic studies and are quoted as historical facts or tested archaeological interpretations.

 

A comment presented in a report titled ‘Archaeological Investigation at Kiandra, Kosciusko National Park; Excavation at Kiandra Hotel & Marks’ Race 1995’ (Smith et al 1995) states: ‘Three or four types of races, ranging in length from 100m to 50 kilometre were used in gold mining in Australia’ The question arises does the length of a water supply race necessarily dictate a typology of an aqueduct or race. If so what are the other two or three types and on what evidence is this statement based? Further the author quotes a series of categories and section (iii) states: ‘Races used for hydraulic sluicing, characterised by the steeper fall needed to create the pressure necessary for hydraulic hoses’.

 

The steeper the race the greater the pressure? This statement vergers on the absurd and would imply that several laws of physics apply to water in races. This statement, based on historically derived evidence, indicates a lack of knowledge of the principles of hydrology and the processes of hydraulic sluicing and is a misinterpretation of the concept of the physical attributes of water races.

 

The pressure derived for a hydraulic sluicing hose is generated by the head of water contained in a water tower or pipe combined with the eventual constricting of the flow of water by a reduction in the diameter in the pipe itself and in the monitor, giant or nozzle. It is not dependent on the pressure of water in an open race. A water race open to the atmosphere is subjected only to atmospheric pressure and the resultant hydraulic gradient produced by the gentle and constant sloping of the race. The report then discusses the supercritical flow in a race and also states: ‘Any changes in profile will necessarily result in changes in water velocity and lead to sections of the races either eroding or splitting up and eventually to catastrophic failure of the race.’

 

Changes in the profile of races were often used as a practical means to control water flow, such as when a race enters a flume, a sluice gate or into a hydraulic sluice head at the face of an alluvial working, or when entering a low dam or holding race. The emotive word ‘catastrophic’ while adding drama to the argument, is a gross overstatement. Mining races were breached, were repaired or replaced quite frequently without disastrous results, as water therein is not under high pressure. The remains of the gold mining township of Kiandra are located in an area in the Snowy Mountains subject to extreme ground slip and soil movement. A recent archaeological survey and excavation of a water race constructed to supply Pollocks Gully with water for mining purposes revealed that the race had been breached, repaired and diverted several times in its working life. This was common practise on many mining fields.

 

It is often difficult to maintain a consensus among historians about the use of historical information to describe mining methods. In referring to the shale mine at Joadja NSW, Sybil Jack (1993:124) makes the following statement regarding the understanding of the working processes:

 

‘… there are three layers at least of technology in less than forty years and they are hard, in an absolute sense perhaps impossible, to distinguish. The costs of such work are increasingly being questioned when the understanding of the basic processes can be obtained from archival and printed matter’

 

Archival sources and printed matter are indeed great aids to both historians and the text-aided archaeologist (Little 1992). Little’s determination of the text-aided archaeologist is much more accurate and acceptable than the restrictive term historical archaeologist. Qualified archaeologists may have little or no experience with the procedures of the historian and should be able to apply their working methods of their profession to both the prehistoric and historical periods. Equally the historian may have minimal training or understanding of archaeological theory, field surveying, interpretive methods or scientific procedures often employed by the archaeologist. Often the only sources of printed matter quoted are newspapers. Jack’s historian colleague McGowan (1996), when referring to mining activities in one area of the Shoalhaven River Goldfield, cautiously and justifiably states: ‘… there were many mining endeavours which never made their way into the press’. How would one then interpret the applied technology of such a site? Further to this McGowan (1995:5) states what must be a warning to all on the structure of the historical record.

 

‘That the “documents lie' is a factor well known to all serious historians, it not simply being a question of what is in the documents, but the question of selectivity and interpretation of source material.’

 

McGowan later recanted this statement and re wrote it to read ‘that the documents can ‘lie’’ (McGowan 1996:2). Which ever interpretation is adopted the operative word is still ‘lie.’

 

Ian Jack’s (1983:157) statement ‘... the archaeologist of Australian industry cannot in any circumstances ignore the historical context of his site and the relevant written, oral or pictorial evidence.’ has arguable foundation. However, when using historical records, particularly photographs, to identify and describe archaeological sites and artefacts exceptional care is required (Tracey 1994). In a Heritage Study Report to the Evans Shire Council Volume 1 a gold mining dredge is described as ‘Gold mining on the Turon, No date’ (Jack 1987). The photograph presented is of a dredge built by William Clow, a timber miller of Wagonga on the southeast coast of NSW for the Punkalla Gold Dredging Company in 1902. This photograph and several others of the same dredge under construction, during launching and in operation are well described by J. J. Corkhill, the original photographer, and are held in the Tilba Tilba Collection at the National Library of Australia. The photograph and a description of the dredge are also presented in Pacey’s history, ‘The Story of Wagonga Inlet’, as being built and operating in that area. The archaeological remains of this vessel remain over 300 kilometres from the Turon River, capsized in Simpson’s Swamp on the south coast of New South Wales where the vessel spent its entire working life.

 

The erroneous description of applied technology based on photographic, oral and historical evidence often leads to a misinterpretation of a particular landscape. In Ewin’s (1988) history of the Milton and Ulladulla districts, ‘Meet the Pioneers’, a wooden framed poppet head constructed at a mining site at Nerrigundah in the Nerrigundah Division, the Southern Mining District NSW, is described as the Kioloa sawmill located at O’Hara Head (1988:256, AMR 1899:36). Further historical authority is inferred in the photograph by the identification of two workers on the site and specific dates are quoted that cannot be applied to the operating period of the sawmill. The Kioloa Sawmill is well documented, photographs are in various archives and formal archaeological investigations have been undertaken (Tracey 1994).

 

Adopting these statements of noted and published historians may archaeologists rely on the historical record for the understanding of applied technology in the landscape with confidence or without further testing? Once again one must consider McGowan’s (1995:5) concern regarding the lack of fieldwork or the understanding of field survey method by historians.

 

‘Archaeological site descriptions derived from historians ‘writing knowingly about places that they have never actually seen’ must be accepted by the archaeologist and historian with caution.’ Also what of the question of the ethnic nature of applied technology in the landscape. Little historical detail was kept by the Chinese or the Europeans of applied Chinese mining methods in Australia. Several astute mining wardens often noted various mining methods of the Chinese and the newspapers were ripe with anti-Chinese ramblings based on racial intolerance and religious bigotry. The question may be asked where are the historical sources to describe these processes and how may the technology be identified in the field? If they are only available in local histories can the selectivity and interpretive skills of the historian be relied upon?

 

This does not imply that archaeologists do not argue over their interpretations, perish the day. However, many archaeologists working at a professional level after reviewing the results of field surveying and excavation on nineteenth and early twentieth century mining fields are beginning to question and challenge the accuracy of the historical record or its interpretation as the case may be. A qualified archaeologist should be able to apply the rigours of their discipline to the remains of any applied technological process and through analysis and interpretation of the physical features, present a hypothesis to describe the operating process and perhaps the ethnic origin of the operatives. It would be impossible and non-professional to ignore the historical record as Ian Jack (1983:157) comments. However, the historical record should not dominate or provide a mind set for the field archaeologist. To undertake an archaeological field examination of a site with a predetermined concept of what is expected to be found based on the historical record must be considered indicative of very poor professional archaeological practice.

 

The blossoming academic interest in nineteenth and early twentieth century mining in the Pacific region must be encouraging to all those interested in mining history. Several hypotheses are currently being presented and published for a typology of gold mining methods and resultant remains in the landscape. This is a welcomed and excellent tool for the understanding of early mining in Australia. However, a unilateral approach to the understanding of the philosophy of both disciplines of history and archaeology is essential if a reliable typology is to be agreed. If the research of the mining landscape is to continue as a common interest of the historian and archaeologists alike it must be on the basis of understanding and a marriage of thought, to borrow Sibyl Jack’s analogy (Jack 1993). To ignore the theoretical input from either partner will produce estranged bedfellows and possibly divorce. Similar to all enduring marriages, understanding, co-operation and trust are required inputs from both participating parties. Ultimate divorce would be the worst scenario possible and would be totally detrimental to the precious mining heritage we all enjoy.

 

The deposition process

Little Bombay is located on the southern reaches of the Shoalhaven River Goldfield where considerable evidence remains indicting alluvial and hydraulicing practices. Little is known of the historical nature of mining operations on this site (McGowan pers. comm.). A small section of a continuous alluvial mine, possibly one lease, was selected for the purpose of this paper. It represents a entire operating within a larger system, and could be compared to similar operations at Kangaroo Creek and Argalong. The Little Bombay site is situated in an ancient riverbed where gold is present in the alluvium. The gold was extracted using a process of alluvial sluicing and the archaeological remains of this process are identifiable in the landscape.

 

 Figure 2: The exposed alluvial deposits at Bombay on the Shoalhaven River

 

The alluvial deposits comprise sandy strata intermixed with pebbles and were formed by fluvial processes that are commonly found where the velocity, and hence the carrying capacity of the river, has decreased or where a natural or artificial obstruction has blocked the flow. The deposits, when present, are of secondary origin having been released from primary deposits by the exfoliation of granites, weathering and erosional or fluvial processes on the bedrock. The resulting alluvium is produced by this deposition and comprises soils, sands, quartz-drifts, clays and auriferous gravels of recent geological formation. They are found in the lines of watercourses, on flats and the slopes of hills in the present or previous lines of drainage or in this case, in ancient riverbeds. The stratigraphy of the alluvium usually consists of strata of fine to medium sediments intermixed with igneous river pebbles or small boulders. The strata may be contained or confined in a matrix of kaolinite material. It is to this matrix that auriferous particles may adhere. The alluvium is then subject to further erosional processes and may release gold in fine flakes.

 

Figure 3: The face of the abandoned alluvial working at Little Bombay NSW showing the ancient riverbed (D Figure 4).

 

Simple prospecting procedures using a pick shovel and pan may result the extraction of gold particles from flour gold to wheat grain gold or small to medium nuggets. If the lead is considered to be profitable a cradle may be employed enabling the working of larger quantities. Should the prospect continue to produce alluvial washing may be considered. This decision would represent a substantial investment in time, money and human resources and has to be equated against the estimated economical viability of the proposed mine. The presence of test pits forward of the mine’s working face as evidenced at Little Bombay, Kangaroo Creek and Argalong would indicate this investigative process and mine planning. Dams, races, flumes, and other elements of mining infrastructure would also have to be constructed.

 

Figure 4: The alluvial workings at Bombay.

 

Once this operation begins the archaeological remains of the prospecting stages and the early mining efforts will be destroyed by the continued extraction process. It is here that the historical record is important when used with caution. The working face at Little Bombay is approximately 40 metres (130 feet) and is 6 metres (20 feet) deep to the sluicing floor and appears to be cut into an older working slightly to the east of the working face. The presence of an independent truncated race, the remains of sluice heads and irregular tailing races may identify this procedure. It is possible that older working face was longer than the face in question. The points A, B and C (Figure 4) on the lower race on a constant gradient thereby supporting an older race servicing and older working face. Directly above the mine’s working face are 13 sluice heads that would have been supplied water being from the main incoming race that was carrying water in easterly direction according to the gradient. This race rises from a low earth wall dam 170 metres (557 feet) south west of the working face. The control of the flow of water in a race was vital to the successful operation of any mine and earthworks at the dam wall suggest that a gauge or sluice head box was employed. These boxes served two important functions.

 

Firstly they regulated the water supply by controlling the flow rate and secondly acted to prevent erosion of the dam wall by the flowing water. Gauge boxes were constructed from wood and were usually 30 centimetre (12 feet) long and 50 centimetre (20 inches) wide. The depth of the box was determined by the volume of water required to be delivered. The flow of water was controlled by the placement of two pressure boards in the front end of the box. These pressure boards were spaced apart in order to provide an aperture through which the water was controlled and delivered. The back end of the box was open to the water supply in the dam. The races at this site were dug into the ground and vary from 60 centimetre (2 feet) to 75 centimetre (2 feet 6 inches) deep and 90 centimetres (3 feet) to 1 metre (3 feet 6 inches) wide. The sluice heads carried water from the main incoming race and were shallower being approximately 30 centimetre (11 inches) deep. The soils in the area provided sufficient water retention properties and there is no evidence of lining of the races.

 

A race may be described in archaeological terms as a lineal feature that displays a constant gradient. Holding dams, trellises, and flumes may be associated with the races. Native trees and plants are important archaeological indicators of human impact upon the landscape and are most useful and important in respect to mining procedures. Lomandra longifolia, a bright green reed-like plant with strap shaped fronds, often grows in the basal layer of abandoned water races providing a clear indicator of the presence of the linear feature that water races present in the landscape. Kunzea parvifolia, a low, prostrate tree with small dark brown to purple leaves and deep pink flowers, usually grows in water saturated ground around the edges and in the shallows of small shallow dams used as reservoirs or tanks for water races (Wrigley et al 1993).

 

The contrasting colours of both the plants, green in the case of the lomamdra and purple in the kunzea, with the grey green of the eucalypts and melaleucas often provide a clear indicator of the presence of hydrological and engineering features in the landscape. Water races had to be constructed so that the velocity of the water should be great enough or just lower than the supercritical flow to prevent deposition of fine sediments. If the velocity of the flow increased and by decreasing the slope or gradient, the flow became unstable, and transition from laminar to turbulent or dynamic flow took place. The fluid particles would begin to flow in highly irregular paths. Eddies formed and transferred momentum over distances varying from a few millimetres, to several meters eventually causing erosion of the race walls and basal layer. Exceeding the supercritical flow increases the turbidity of the water producing this erosional effect. A velocity of approximately 61 centimetre (2 feet) per second will prevent such deposits in most gravels.

 

Figure 5: Feeder race for sluice heads (E Figure 4).  Note the green lomamdra growing in the race bed.

 

An acceptable velocity for races is 60 - 90 centimetres (2 to 3 feet) per second this may require a slope of approximately 90 - 213 centimetre per 1.6 kilometres (3 to 7 feet per mile). Exceeding this parameter would necessitate the lining of the race with an impervious membrane of wood or galvanised iron to protect the sides of the excavation. Alternatively a series of drops may be incorporated in the construction acting to slow the water before it reached the mine site. The inclusion of wide and shallow settling dams or reservoirs will also lower the velocity of the water by spreading it over a wider surface area. A secondary race would then be constructed from this holding dam to the working site.

 

Figure 6: The alluvial working face showing depression from abandoned sluice heads (F Figure 4).

 

Water delivered to the working face was employed in a regulated flow controlled by wooden sluice gates by way of the sluice heads to wet the surface of the working face. Working from the sluice floor the face of the working would be raked with a sluice fork, pick or other tool. The remains of these cast iron forks were found in the vicinity of the site. The deposit released by the water and raking action was then processed by sluicing. The applied method of sluicing was dependent upon the depth of the auriferous drift and the topographical location of the claim. Ground sluicing was used in areas where the bottom was sufficiently high enough to obtain a suitable fall of water, usually about 9 metres (30 feet). Two essentials for successful operation were an abundant supply of water and a clear outfall for materials passed through the sluice. It is considered that the process of ground sluicing was used at this site.

 

Ground or alluvial sluicing

Ground sluicing was an efficient mining method often producing a reasonable gold yield from poorer ground (Tracey, J 1997). Water was essential requiring a permanent supply as near as possible to the claim (Gordon 1894:201). The water supply from the dam to the south west of the working face at this site delivered water to the workings in a headrace as described. In this case the headrace did not terminate adjacent to the edge of the face but continued southeast possibly to another working. Approximately 30 metres of race are visible past the working face, however, introduced pine plantations in this area have destroyed the any further evidence of the race.

 

Single sluice heads serviced the claim allowing the water to flow over the face and dislodge the washdirt. Miners immediately near the face raked loosened washdirt onto the working floor. The wash disintegrated and was carried by the stream of water into a sluice channel. Stone or blocks placed in the sluice further assisted the breaking up of the wash dirt, causing the deposition of the heavier gold particles. Water velocity through the channel had to be regulated according to the consistency of the washdirt. Water flow for loamy soils had to be considerably slower than that required for drifts where large stones had to be carried off required a fast flow (Howitt 1894:43).

 

Figure 7: Overlooking the tailraces (G Figure 4).

 

The sluice emptied into the tailrace that was constructed to facilitate the rapid discharge of water from the channel (Smyth 1869). Tailraces were constructed where the water from the sluice channel had a fall of several metres as may be evidenced at this site. It was necessary to construct the tailrace with a fall of not less than 7.6 centimetre (3 inches) in 3.6 metres (12 inches). This pitch is continued for a considerable distance before terminating, then several yards were run on the level. The purpose of this final levelling out was to provide a means by which any lighter or scaly gold fragments had the opportunity to settle in the calmer water. As an extra security against the destructive forces of the rapid flow of water in the tailrace, this section may have been constructed of slabs or boxing. This aided in confining the water and a guard against obstructions that would be likely to interrupt its regular flow (Tracey, J 1997).

 

Large areas of wash dirt could be worked in a short period of time and when the miners required washing up, the work at the face was stopped. While an uninterrupted flow of water was maintained, miners entered the sluice channel and using picks, broke up any hardened masses of stones and drift, serving the purpose of allowing the gold to sink to the bottom and causing the sand and drift gravels to be carried away into the tail race. Others, using forks tossed out to the sides any of the larger stones that eventually produced the mounds evidence on site. These actions reduced considerably the depth of accumulation in the sluice channel. Water from the headrace was then slackened off by directing the major flow to another part of the claim, with only a limited flow continuing into the sluice channel. Stones were then placed at the end of the sluice to guard against the loss of gold while it was scraped and cleaned out and readied to be finally emptied. The small heap of drift is then passed through a large sluice box or cradle and the remains panned off. Tailraces remained several months before being washed up.

 

The observations and interpretations represent only a preliminary investigation at this site and research in this area will continue in order to record from the archaeological remain the working processes of the site. Several other alluvial workings have been observed in this area and these are suspected, according to historical accounts, to be Chinese operation. While some features such as races and holding dams are similar, to what is believed to European workings, as described many features are different and are being investigated. Further research may demonstrate that ethnic origins of the miners may be demonstrated by the methods of working and certain alternative applied technology.

 

Whoever worked the alluvial mines, whatever nationality, relied heavily upon an adequate supply of water for the continued operation of their lease. When the water supply failed, as it often did, so to did the mine. The Shoalhaven did not reach its full potential as a major gold producer due to intermittent and often prolonged droughts in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The adage 'No water no gold' certainly applied to the Shoalhaven Valley.

 

Summary

The human past is an all encompassing precious commodity and its understanding should be based on accurate investigation, data and tested analysis and ‘an element of theoretical purity’ should prevail even if ‘time and money are particular constraints’ (McGowan 1995:5). Professionals involved in the study of our heritage have a moral and ethical responsibility to present accurate interpretation and analysis based on accurate data and research. If ‘heritage industry’ costs do dictate the accurate study of the human past then we have sold off our precious heritage and failed in our professional obligations as custodians of the past for future generations. ‘Theoretical purity’ may be defined as accuracy or the search for the truth and surely these objectives should be considered the minimum requirements in any heritage study. We cannot hand to future generations an inaccurate cost effect heritage generated from professional employment and expedience rather than professional responsibly and ethics.

 

Acknowledgements

The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of my colleagues Dr Barry McGowan ANU, Dr Jennifer Lambert Tracey, Cultural Heritage Research Centre, University of Canberra, Wilfred Shawcross, Archaeologist, Dr Chris Carter, Archaeology Australia, Michael Olditch and Michael Merrony, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University. My thanks also to Kate Tracey for her valued assistance in the field.

 

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Perry, T. M., 1955, ‘The Lower Shoalhaven district: 1797-1822. An Essay in Historical Geography’, The Australian Geographer, No 3, p 26-34.

 

Ritchie, N., 1981, ‘Archaeological interpretation of alluvial gold tailings sites, Central Otago, New Zealand’, New Zealand Journal of Archaeology, Vol 3, pp 51-69.

 

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Reports

Department of Mines Agriculture New South Wales Annual Mining Report for the year 1899..

 

Jack, I., 1987, Heritage study report to the Evans Shire Council, Volume 1.

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