More interesting than the main road from Duffers Saddle to Bannockburn (see previous route) is the side-track via the deserted Carricktown, where mullock heaps mark the positions of mine holes, the remains of stamper batteries lie scattered like rusty fossils, and the ruins of stone cottages squat among rocky outcrops.
In a gully before the town stands an 8m iron overshot waterwheel, while on the opposite side of the gully is a stamping battery. Both were built in Dunedin and were originally transported in pieces to a goldmine near Alexandra. After three years this venture failed, and late in 1874 Sam Williams and John Edwards bought the battery and wheel for their Young Australian claim on the Carrick Range.
Williams and Edwards had been mining on the top of Carrick for nearly three years, carting their gold-bearing quartz halfway down the range for crushing. When in 1874 they finally got a reliable water supply, they moved their newly acquired waterwheel and stamping battery to the mine site and set them up alongside each other.
For two years they did well, with the mine yielding more than an ounce of gold for each ton of quartz crushed. But then the reef ran out. By 1877 the mine and battery were sold up by creditors.
The battery was then operated only occasionally until 1898. During this time it was shifted – with only five of its 10 heads – to its present position, where a pelton wheel was used to drive it Which explains how the battery and waterwheel got to be on opposite sides of the gully.
Turn up the track at the cattle-stop 0.2km on the Bannockburn side of Duffers Saddle on the Carrick Range.
If you start from the Bannockburn Hotel, drive south for 5.2km, bear right at the end of the seal and travel a further 9.5km to the cattle-stop just short of Duffers Saddle.
F41 (Arrowtown), F42 (Kingston)
S > N. Start at F42 017526
For the first 6km the track is bare earth with a few water-holes, then becoming grass with some rocky sections and ruts.
Source: 4WD South Island Volume 1 (Ken Sibly & Mark Wilson)