Alluvial gold was first discovered in the Coromandel in the 1850s, and the area was declared a goldfield in 1862 following the discovery of gold-bearing quartz. The Thames goldfield was declared in 1867 after negotiations with Maori owners. Quartz needed crushing to extract the gold, for example the Kapanga mine, operating from 1862 to 1911 yielded about 30,000 ounces of gold from 17,000 tons of quartz. In the early days mining and prospecting rights were issued as long as no-one else had a claim over an area, but a century later, in the 1980s, far more consideration was applied to applications.
From 1862 Warden's Offices were responsible not only for the local management of gold mining and the resolution of disputes, but also the allocation of residence, business and machine sites, water rights, administration of agricultural and pastoral leases, and the hearing of civil and criminal suits within the district. Gold Field Wardens also acted as Resident Magistrates.
This album illustrates goldmining in the Coromandel peninsula and shows what it was like to live and work in the goldfields.