Allow a minimum of two hours for this activity. 40 mins drive each way, 20 minute walk, then you can visit the Holy Cow restaurant for an icecream and to taste award-winning cheddar! How to get there: From Tin Dragon Trail Cottages turn right onto the Tasman Highway (A3). Drive up over the hill out of Branxholm. Continue along the Tasman Highway through Derby, Moorina to Weldborough (26 Km). From Welborough you can continue on the A3 past the Little Plains Lookout (6.8 km from Welborough). Continue on the A3 to the Anchor road turnoff (17 km from Welborough, A3). Less than 1 km along the Anchor Rd is a turn-off to the right to the Halls Falls car park then another 4 km further along the Anchor Road is a small car park for the Anchor Stamper’s – a short 10 min walk. It is signposted. The Anchor Road is a well maintained gravel road suitable for the family sedan car.
Izumi Toyohara at the entrance to the walk Feb 2014.
A part of the track was washed out by a bursting dam a few years ago. And the track is no longer maintained. So take care if you choose this walk. It is probably not a good idea to attempt the walk after or during heavy rain! However we have been in to the stampers several times in the last 6 months (2013-14).
Remember to be careful because you walk at your own risk. The waterwheel (recorded as the largest in Tasmania) was an estimated 20m in diameter, 1.34m wide and weighing 100 tonnes, and was used to power a 40-head stamper battery. Many streams and water races were needed to provide water – 10 tonnes of water was required to drive one revolution of the wheel. However, an inadequate supply of water meant that only about 30 of the 40 stampers could be used. The mine closed and was sold two years later. The battery at this site consists of 2 sets of 10-head stamps, which were relocated from Tasmania’s west coast in the 1930’s and powered by a Gardener diesel motor till the mine closed in 1950.
The Anchor Tin Mine Stampers (1930). The original stampers were driven by Tasmania’s largest waterwheel.
Following the discovery of alluvial tin in the Groom River during 1880, Arthur Hodge and James Robinson worked the original Anchor leases on “tribute”. The tribute system involved a selfemployed miner agreeing to share the profits of his labour with a mine manager in return for the use of the mine property.
The Anchor Mine Mining Co NL was floated on the Hobart stock exchange in September 1882. Alluvial mining was replaced by open-cut lode mining using capital raised from the float to open two faces into the steep hillside as well as erecting a crushing and concentrating plant and installing the famous water wheel. However the mine closed two years later.
There were many further attempts to re-open the mine, with the final chapter in January 1989 when the New Zealand based Spectrum Resources re-opened the mine; but after only two years of operation and expenditure of around $7 million the mine was closed. In 1994 Mancala Pty Ltd acquired the mine, producing tin till 1996, when the mine was again closed. In 2007 after heavy rain a dam built for the mine collapsed and washed away a section of the walking track. The wash-out is spectacular and indicates the level of force behind the escaping water! Most lode tin mines had a crushing battery to reduce the ore to fine particles ready for further extraction treatment. In the 1880’s the Anchor Mine had an enormous crushing battery of 100 stamps. This type of crushing machinery was called a gravity stamp, because the engine lifted a series of heavy iron rods and let them drop onto the ore in the mortar box so that gravity did the work of crushing the stone. When the stone particles were small enough they splashed out through a screen and went to a shaking table known as a Wilfley table. Gravity stamps were not very efficient, but were popular in the Australian bush because they were simple, strong and easy to maintain. The Grub Shaft mine museum in Beaconsfield (www.beaconsfieldheritage.com.au) has a working display of an old water wheel and stamper battery, which was reconstructed from parts obtained in the Blue Tiers.