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The Disappearing Lake

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The Disappearing Lake 

When the early settlers arrived in Otago in the 1850s, this lake was a productive, freshwater lake, but it disappeared not long after gold mining started in Central Otago in the 1860s.

 

Europeans named it Taieri Lake, but by the late 19th century, it was silting up caused by the massive movement of silts and gravels from the Hamilton's and Naseby gold diggings. The run-off from the sluicing that went on in the gold claims filled the waters of the Taieri River and its tributaries with sediment, which eventually deposited itself in the lake. From that time on, it became a swamp, which was drained in the 1940s.

 

The Taieri Lake or Scale Siding (just east of Waipiata), was opened in 1904 to load some 2000 tons of hard basalt stone destined for the building of the Dunedin Railway Station via the Otago Central Railway. The siding closed soon after this work in October 1905. 

Taieri Lake Panel Toitu 73_13-1 Mr Brown

Phillip John Brown blowing down his tailrace with an open canvas hose and the sluice boxes where the gold is saved, Hogburn, 1910.

Photo Box Collection, Box 73, Number 13/1, 
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.