Low Level Water Race - Victoria Battery
The Victoria Battery low level water race on the Ohinemuri River has considerable cultural heritage significance. It dates from 1897, and was a vital component of the Victoria Battery and the operations of the Waihi Gold Mining Company (and Martha Goldmining Company Ltd. as it became in 1935).
The low level water race consisted of a masonry dam constructed on the Ohinemuri River, just down stream from the confluence of the Waitete Stream, and a race to convey the water to the battery site.
A fall of 54 feet was obtained at the battery, the water driving two 200 HP turbines. The water race was for the most part an open ground-channel, but crossed the Ohinemuri River twice, in wooden flumed bridges, and was piped across a small gully in a large diameter pipe known as the siphon. At least one other section of the race was contained in a wooden flume. The water race crossed over the tramway twice, and under the tramway once.
The turbines of the low level race drove the stampers at the battery from the outset, and even after the electrification of the battery in 1913, contributed a significant proportion of the horse power required for the stamps.
Operations at Martha mine ceased in 1952, (with clean up at the battery for a year or two after this date) when the water race was no longer required.
Much remains of this low level water supply. The Masonry dam is still intact, and almost complete. The race is relatively intact over about half its length, and still holds water in several sections.
The Masonry dam has been formally recorded as an archaeological site (no. T13/305), and has legal protection under the Historic Places Act (1993). The site also has an "Historic Area" designation pending, under this same Act [completed 2006]..
The Victoria Battery site is recorded as archaeological site no. T13/300.