By the time we left St James Church my travelling companion and I were mentally fatigued from information and sensory overload and my feet wanted a rest. Our experiences early that day included driving from Tullah, walking to and from Philosopher’s Falls, viewing the landscape from Whyte Hill, exploring the deserted town of Luina and taking in some of the historic buildings and sites around Waratah. But many significant historic features of Waratah remained to be explored.
The Kenworthy Stamper Mill was one of these.
This mining stamper was housed next door to the Tarkine Interpretation Centre. The local government website explains the Mill is a “…display of working machinery used by a local, Dudley Kenworthy. Kenworthy continued prospecting near Mount Bischoff mine after it closed in the 1940s. Visitors can experience the process by the touch of a button.”
Carol Haberle’s blog provides the following information “Originally situated on Mt Bischoff, this stamper mill has been relocated in its entirety, complete with original ‘felt screens’ to keep out the harsh winds, and is now housed in a building alongside The Athenaeum. The late Dudley Kenworthy, the final man to run a mining enterprise on the mountain, operated this stamper mill, a single-head stamp battery. Its purpose was the first step in the process of separating the tin from the waste rock, hence it crushed the ore from the mine. This stamper was located on the side of the hill adjacent to the falls, and it’s ‘thumping’ provided a continuous background noise to the residents of Waratah. The stamper shut down at midnight on Saturdays for only one day, and Sunday was the only day one could hear the bird calls from the bush surrounding Waratah. At the press of a button visitors to the Stamper Mill can see the stamper working, and watch and wonder at how far mining has come these days.” The article includes a clearly descriptive photograph of this massive piece of machinery. What I loved about visiting here was that periodically the machine operated so I could see how it functioned. Around the sides of the stamper were explanations of the parts and process. For another photo of the inside of the stamper building (pictured below), a photo of Philosopher Smith, and much more go to a website by Rachael Hogge, Tourism Project Officer, Waratah-Wynyard Council.
Entrance and the display were free of charge.