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Official Guide to the Government Court: N.Z. Centennial Exhibition

Mines Department

Mines Department

The facade of the Mines Department section presents two tall towers significant of the head-gears of a pair of mine shafts, the similitude being heightened by the small cages, carrying figures of miners, which travel up and down in one of them. The interior of the Court has been laid out to afford as free access as possible to visitors, and many centres of attraction present themselves.

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The Department's section, naturally, features most prominently the minerals and mining operations of the Dominion. As far as is possible the different classes of ores or minerals have been grouped to show most effectively their variety and value. There is, for instance, a coal group showing representative samples of the lignites— brown and bituminous coals won from New Zealand coal-fields—to which has also been added samples of certain by-products from them, such as coke, briquettes, car-bonettes and derivative oils. .Another group shows the limestones and marls used for agricultural and cement-making purposes, while still another contains sands, clays and earths employed or available in the Dominion for glass manufacture, building-brick, fire-brick, pottery and tile-making, clarifying liquids, and many other purposes. The building-stones of the Dominion are also well represented, and in this connection attention can scarcely fail to be focussed on two displays of dressed and polished New Zealand marbles, diorites, granites, etc., specially designed and executed by Messrs. Fletcher Construction Company Ltd. A further exhibit calling for note is that showing samples of New Zealand petroleum and a number of by-products recovered from it, by New Zealand Refineries Ltd., New Plymouth, while a large miscellaneous group serves to show how wide a variety of other ores and minerals the Dominion produces.

Apart from the minerals, many other exhibits lend life and attractiveness to the section. One that cannot fail to draw the attention of all visitors is a large model  depicting, on sheets of glass, the underground workings on the numerous levels of the Martha and Grand Junction Mines, Waihi. These mines have yielded gold and silver to the value of upwards of £22,250,000. They contain numerous reefs, on which it has been estimated nearly 100 miles of development work has been carried out. The positions of the many reefs at the different levels are shown, as well as their widths.

Thus the model should be most interesting to all visitors engaged in mining operations, and everything is so clearly shown that even those unfamiliar with mining should form from it a good idea of what a large mine is like underground.

The New Zealand Geological Survey is represented by large geological maps of the North and South Islands respectively, and a low-relief map of the thermal region of Rotorua, while two large mural paintings in full colour, a group of animated dioramas, as well as many striking photographs, serve to illustrate varying features of mining activity in the Dominion in gold and coal-mining, dredging, sluicing, drilling for oil, etc. A number of interesting models of mine head-gears and mine timbering are also shown, and a fine display of explosives used in modern mining practice. This latter exhibit has been prepared by Messrs. Nobel Proprietary Ltd.