Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 1, 1868
This text is also available in PDF
() Opens in new window

Proceedings
of the
Auckland Institute.

Proceedings
of the
Auckland Institute,
Session of 1868.

First Meeting, held in the Provincial Museum, May 4, 1868.
F. Whitaker, Esq., President, in the chair.

The following contributions were laid upon the table, viz: A series of photographs of the Atlantic cable machinery—Mr. J. T. Mackelvie. A number of South Sea Island shells—Mr. Vilcocq, of Russell. Part of a porpoise's head—Mr. Mackenzie, of Mangonui. Maori stone axes—Mr. Bell, of Whangaroa; also, by the same gentleman, a piece of the copper of the ship “Boyd,” the crew of which were massacred and eaten there; a piece of manganese ore from Tikiora, Bay of Islands; quartz rock from near Spirits Bay. There was also a specimen of clay which had been burned by a gentleman at the Tamaki, and which was believed to be a near approach to china clay.

Mr. Gillies, the Honorary Secretary, read a note that had been left at the museum, stating that a number of miners from the Thames had visited the collection, and had been much interested and gratified at examining the minerals there. Mr. Gillies stated that the Council of the Association, immediately upon being formed, wrote to England for various scientific publications, and had received the first of them by last mail. They were then on the table, and would be lent out to be read by members, at the close of the meeting. Any not taken out would lie at his office. He had also to mention that they had received a number

– 56 –

of New Zealand birds from the south, which illustrated the advantage of being connected with the New Zealand Institute.

Mr. Whitaker, President, then read the Inaugural Address. (See Transactions.)

Papers read:

(1.) “On the Botany of the northern part of the North Island,” by T. Kirk, Esq. (See Transactions.)

Dr. Hector spoke in commendation of the paper. He hoped that such excursions as that of the cutter “Glance,” during which the observations were made, would more frequently be undertaken than hitherto. He himself had had a six months’ excursion in the same quarter. Novelties could now hardly be looked for in New Zealand, for the plants were pretty equally distributed, and a number of excellent observers had devoted themselves to exploration in it. Passing from botany, Dr. Hector made some remarks upon the geology of the district to the north of Auckland. Although the geology of New Zealand was very complex, still the great features were now fairly ascertained. Dr. Hochstetter's researches had surpassed the others in published results, but he must have derived a great deal of information from Major Heaphy and other local geologists. Dr. Hector then gave a most interesting account, first, of the geology of the New Zealand Islands as a whole; and next, more particularly of the geology of the northern part of Auckland, pointing out, especially, the areas occupied by Palæozoic rocks, that might prove auriferous; and also the area and extent of the great northern coal field. The lecture was illustrated by a Geological Map of the Northern District, which was published by Dr. Hector, in 1866; and also by unpublished maps and sections of the coal fields.

Captain Hutton followed with some remarks on the same subject; saying that he believed Dr. Hector's account was the first that had been given of the general geology of New Zealand, and more especially of that part which had been more minutely described.

The Rev. Dr. Purchas expressed his gratification at the remarks that had been made by Dr. Hector and Capt. Hutton. He said he had visited the Thames gold field, and had been surprised at the quantity of gold lost there, owing to the presence of sulphurets, and the fine nature of the gold. That loss, he thought, might be obviated. He moved that the thanks of the meeting be given to Dr. Hector, for his interesting statement.

Dr. Fischer seconded the motion, which was agreed to.

Thanks were also given to Mr. Kirk.

Picture icon

Plan of the Crater of White Island N.Z. From a rough Survey by Lieut RA Edwin R.N.

Picture icon

Lake Hope White Island
from a Sketch by J. C. Richmond.

– 57 –

(2.) The Secretary then read a paper on “The Crater of White Island,” by Dr. Rolston and Lieut. Edwin, of H. M.’s ship “Brisk.” The paper was illustrated by drawings, diagrams, and specimens.

(Extracts.)

The depth of Lake Hope, in the interior of White Island, at about fifty yards from the south shore, was found to be about two fathoms, and the soundings appeared to be uniform. The temperature of the lake was 110° F.; color, light green. There was very much more water in the lake than when last visited in November, 1866, which precluded the possibility of reaching the largest steam jets, at the extreme north-west corner of the crater; but it was observed that these steam jets were not nearly so active as in 1866. There was only one mud geyser observable, which was on the south-east margin of the lake, on a slightly elevated bank, the mouth of which was about twelve feet in diameter. The mud was in a very liquid state, quite black looking; the depth obtained was about four feet; the temperature, 200° F.

The highest point at which steam was seen, was on the outside of the crater, at the western side of the island, within one hundred yards of the top, or highest peak, of the island.

The height of the lake, above sea level, appeared to be about fifteen feet.

There seemed to be no rocks of original formation anywhere.

The vegetation seen (which could not be got at), was a dense, scrubby, green bush, growing all over the western end of the island. A grass was also observed on an inaccessible rock on the south bank, short, and very green. (See Illustrations.)

List of Specimens obtained:

1.Sand, found on the sea beach, between large boulders of conglomorate.
2.Mud, brought up by hand-lead, from the depth of four feet, while the geyser was in an active state of ebullition. This is the mud geyser before described. A bottle of the liquid mud, sealed up on the spot, also accompanied this.
3.Mud, from a steam jet (Therm. 215° F.), at the south-west side of the lake, about two hundred yards distant from it.
4.Dried surface mud, between the south beach and the lake.
5.Crust of feathery crystals, taken from the dry bed of a water course, where, at one time, water had run from geysers to the lake itself, in a north-west direction; and appeared to be of rather recent formation.
– 58 –
6.Bottle of lake water, taken at a temperature of 110° F.

With several other specimens of no great value.

Dr. Hector explained that the paper had been furnished by Dr. Rolston and Lieut. Edwin, in answer to a request made by him when he heard that the vessel was about to visit White Island; and that it possessed great interest, for the care with which the altitudes and soundings of the warm lake, and the temperature of the springs, had been ascertained.

The Secretary proposed that Dr. Rolston and Lieut. Edwin should be written to, thanking them for their contribution.

The motion was carried unanimously.

The Chairman said he thought it should be decided at that meeting whether they should unite with the New Zealand Institute.

Mr. Peacock moved, that they be incorporated with the New Zealand Institute.

Captain Hutton seconded the motion.

Mr. Gillies said he hoped they would resolve upon joining the Institute. While in politics they fought for their local advantages, they should show that when it came to a matter of science they recognized no distinction.

The motion to incorporate with the New Zealand Institute was carried unanimously.

Second Meeting. June 1, 1868.
J. H. Crawford, Esq., in the chair.

Papers read:

(1.) “On the Mechanical Principles involved in the Flight of the Albatross,” by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S.

(Extracts.)*

The author commenced by remarking that, though most other branches of ornithology had been treated of, that of “flight” had received little attention, though it was a subject of considerable difficulty and importance. His first illustration was that of an albatross, 17 Ib. in weight, poised in mid-air ready for flight; the temperature of its air cells, as scientifically ascertained, being 108 F., and that of the surrounding

[Footnote] * This paper, by Captain Hutton, could not be printed, in extenso, as it was found impossible to procure the necessary type for the algebraic formulæ, contained therein, in Wellington. — Ed.

– 59 –

air 48 F. In that case, it would require a sphere of more than fifteen feet in diameter, to sustain the quantity of air necessary to render the specific gravity of the bird equal to that of the atmosphere. Taking its under surface to be eight feet in all, it would require a pressure of 2.12 lb. per square foot to support it, and an upward velocity of twenty feet a second to sustain the bird in the air. If the breeze were blowing with a velocity of one hundred feet a second, the bird would be forced backwards and downwards in the direction of the wind. The essayist, having proceeded to show, in algebraic formulæ, the comparative degrees of inertia of a body, proved that in all cases the bird would reach the water in a curved line, at a certain distance behind its first position; and concluded that the common notion, that a certain position of the bird's wings and feathers enabled it to sail against the wind, was erroneous, and opposed to the known laws of physical science. He also combated the theory, that an albatross could fly almost against the wind, in the same manner that a ship beats to windward, pointing out that in the one case, the pressure of the wind was resolved in forces, having other directions, by the resistance it received from the water: whereas, the albatross was placed in only one medium, having a uniform direction, affording no opportunity, as in the case of the ship, of resolving its direction into that most advantageous to itself, viz., forwards.

The author then propounded his own theory, that the albatross receives motion by means of the momentum it has previously acquired by strokes of his wings in the air, or of his feet in the water, or both combined. He then went on to illustrate, that duration of sailing might be supposed to depend upon the relative momentum and resistance. He showed, by algebraic formulæ, that a velocity, at starting, of one hundred and sixteen feet a second, sailing at an angle of five degrees to the horizon, would enable the bird—by gradually increasing the angle at which he was flying, to ten degrees—to maintain a uniform height until his velocity was reduced to fifty-eight feet a second. He then went on to show—by means of comparing the resistance offered to a round shot—the amount of resistance required, to allow an albatross to sail for half an hour without employing his wings, and only reducing his velocity from one hundred and fifteen to fifty-eight feet per second. He allowed 0.16 sq. ft. as the effective area of resistance to the forward progress of the bird; and, by ably arranged and accurately defined formula, arrived at the conclusion, that the resistance would be much less than one-fortieth of that calculated for round shot. He also showed that the greater the

– 60 –

weight of the bird, and the smaller the velocity at which it was compelled to fly in order to maintain its position in the air, and the less the front area, the greater would be the period during which the bird could sail without using its wings. Thus, it might be said, that the sailing power of a bird depended upon its weight, and resistance to the downward force of gravity being great, while the resistance to its forward movement was small. He then took a Cape pigeon as an illustration: and, calculating its terminal velocity at ten feet a second, and the rate of flying at an angle of five and ten degrees to the horizon, at fifty-eight and twenty-nine respectively, showed that it would be able to sail only about eight minutes, or one-fourth as long as the albatross; the resistance of the air being in a similar ratio in both cases. However, the pigeon could not sail so long as eight minutes without being carried away by the wind, as the bird would have to use its wings some time before it had reached its least possible velocity. Bearing this in mind, it was shown that a diminution in velocity of 11.6 ft. a second, could be compensated for by an increase of one degree in the angle at which the bird happened to be flying; and that, therefore, it was extremely probable, that the albatross used its air-cells to enable it to slightly shift its centre of gravity with respect to the position of its wings, and so, with little muscular exertion, to alter the angle at which it was flying. The essayist concluded his able and instructive paper by stating, that he did not pretend to have solved the problem connected with the flight of the albatross, but merely to have suggested method of solving it. Experiments required to be made, respecting the resistance offered by the front and under surface of the bird, to different velocities of wind, before any satisfactory conclusion could be arrived at.

A vote of thanks was tendered to Captain Hutton, for the care and ability he had shown in the preparation of this paper.

(2.) “Notes on Land and Fresh-water Shells collected in the northern part of the Province of Auckland, during the month of April, 1868,” by J. B. Gillies, Esq.

(Extracts.)

After a few introductory remarks, the author observed, that, at the native settlement of Waitatiora; he had found a fine specimen of the Bulimus crawling across the path, which appeared to be the Bulimus antipodarum, but differing from some hundreds of specimens that he had seen, in having two strongly developed bars, or projections, on the inner side of the outer lip. The presence of half-burnt shells, on peat, at Whangarei, from which the fern had been previously

– 61 –

burnt off, afforded ample evidence that it had once been a favourite habitat of the Bulimus antipodarum. A smaller shell, which he was inclined to set down as the young of the Bulimus antipodarum, or an Achatina, had been obtained from the natives. None of the larger Bulimus antipodarum had been found at Bream Head, though abundance of the smaller kind were met with. However, he had some doubt of the identity of the Whangarei with the Bream Head species. On Mania hill, near Whangarei, he had found what at first sight appeared to be three varieties of a whorled shell, like a Turritella, but which he supposed to be a Cyclostoma. The larger variety had six whorls, about half an inch long, by one-eighth of an inch in width; and of a brownish colour, indistinctly striped: the mouth being nearly circular, and much contorted to the right, with a sort of double lip all round. The smaller variety, five whorls, a quarter of an inch to three-eighths of an inch long, had not the contorted mouth, nor the double lip. The smaller variety was only ten-twelfths of an inch in length, by 7 in. wide. He had also obtained a large number of Helices, amongst which he could distinguish the Helix Busbyi, and the Helix Dunniæ. Mr. Gillies went on to exhibit and to describe shells, which he had obtained at the Waitangi Falls, and in the Northern streams.

Captain Hutton said Mr. Gillies deserved the thanks of the members of the Institute, for the valuable services he had rendered to the geology of New Zealand.

(3.) A paper “On Thames Auriferous Quartz,” by Mr. George Ford, Gold-mining Chemist, of Australia, was read by the Secretary.

The paper contained much valuable information as to the character of Thames gold, modes of its extraction, indications for judging of its presence, value, etc. It had been written by Mr. Ford, for the owners of the “Bobbie Burns” claim, at the Thames, who had submitted for examination a portion of outside casing, not taken from a leader. A request was made to the meeting that the contents of this paper should not be made public for the present, the shareholders themselves having been at considerable expence in obtaining it.

Captain Hutton warned the miners against the use of cyanide of potassium, as the result of it would be to dissolve the gold. He, however, approved of the use of Mr. Crook's sodium amalgam, as a corrective.

Captain Goldsmith drew attention to the fact, that the separation of the gold was often impeded, and loss occasioned, by clay getting into the stamper box and mixing with the mercury.

– 62 –

Third Meeting. July 6, 1868.
Frederick Whitaker, Esq., President, in the chair.

The following contributions were laid upon the table, viz:

Golden pheasant, from the Auckland Acclimatisation Society. Fossil Pecten, from Te Pahi, Kaipara—Mr. Kirk. Work on the anatomy of Halleria punctata, by Albert Günther—from the author. Auriferous quartz, from the “Bobbie Burns” claim—Mr. W. Aitkin. Copy of the Auckland Times, September 12, 1842, found at an old native burial-place at the Thames—Mr. H. M. Jervis. One rare Murex, one rare Venus—Mr. Traill. Specimen of King Penguin, captured at the Bay of Islands—Captain Hutton. One skin of Huia, one of Apteryx Owenii, from Mr. Buller, Wanganui, in exchange for skins from museum collection; and one skull of fish (unknown), collected at Hokitika, by Mr. Murdoch.

Moved and carried, that the thanks of the meeting be given to the donors.

Papers read:

(1.) “On Hydraulic Mortar.” (See Transactions.)

A discussion ensued, in which several members took part; during which astonishment was expressed that stones of different sorts, and especially fire-bricks, should still be imported into the colony at a heavy cost, when they could be obtained much cheaper in the province itself.

(2.) “The Birds of the Great Barrier Island,” and (3,) “The Birds of the Little Barrier Island,” by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S. (See Transactions.)

Several specimens were produced as the result of Captain Hutton's explorations on these islands. Mr. Kirk, who accompanied Captain Hutton in his visit to the Little Barrier, added a few interesting remarks to the papers read.

In answer to a question put by the Rev. Mr. Purchas, Captain Hutton replied, that the crater at the Little Barrier, appeared to be about the same age as that at the North Head of the Manukau; and was, with slight exceptions, similar to that of Tongariro.

(4.) “On the Hot-spring of Te Tarata, Rotomahana,” by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S. (See Transactions.)

A vote of thanks to Captain Hutton and Mr. Stewart closed the proceedings.

– 63 –

Fourth Meeting. August 3, 1868.
The Rev. James Buller, in the chair.

The following contributions were announced, viz:

Specimen of copper from Whangapurapura, Great Barrier Island—Mr. F. Whitaker. Two living specimens of Hatteria punctata from Karewa Island, near Tauranga—Mr. H. T. Clarke. Gold from Kapanga, gold from South Island, gold from South America, and arsenic from Kapanga—Mr. F. Whitaker. Gold from Paparata. Collection of Moa bones—Dr. Haast, Christchurch, per Captain Hutton. Fossil wood from the Portland beds, England—Dr. Purchas. Johnston's “Lectures on Agricultural Chemistry and Geology”—Mr. J. H. Crawford. Specimen of cement with gold (about four ounces to the ton), from Charleston, Nelson; specimen of quartz with gold, from Westport, Nelson—Mr. D. Murdoch. Trachytic rocks from Tokatoka, Kaipara—Captain Hutton. Specimen of wood (probably Leptospermum) taken from a depth of forty feet below the scoria, near Mount Eden—Mr. John Probert. Crystallised quartz and rock-casing from the “York” and “Devon” claims; quartz and bed-rock from the “Bendigo” claim; quartz from the “Pretty Jane” claim—Mr. Cartwright. Collection of thirty-nine coins and medals, chiefly silver—Mr. J. H. Crawford.

Papers read:

(1.) “On Arid Island,” by Captain Hutton and T. Kirk, Esq., read by the Honorary Secretary, Mr. Gillies. (See Transactions.)

At the conclusion of the paper, some discussion took place respecting what had been stated as to the subsidence of the island. Dr. Purchas, Mr. Gillies, Mr. Boardman, and Captain Hutton spoke on the subject.

(2.) “On Agricultural Chemistry,” by John Lowe, Esq., C.E.

(Extracts.)

The author commenced by observing that the fertility of a soil, as relates to the production of particular crops, may depend upon the presence or absence of very minute, and almost imperceptible, portions of inorganic substances—alkalies for instance—and salts of metals. The necessity, for example, of sulphate of lime to clover, silica to grapes, phosphorus to wheat, etc., was formerly quite disregarded; and it is only of late years that these matters have been more looked into: and we see, with satisfaction, the result of the joint labour of the farmer and the chemist.

Soils are made up of organic and inorganic constituents—he would

– 64 –

confine himself to the latter,—and class them as those which constitute the bulk of the soil, on the mechanical texture of which, the growing crops depend, such as clay, sand, and lime; also those involving the fitness of soil for particular crops, such as sulphate and phosphate of lime, soda, ammonia, magnesia, etc.

The author described various mineral and chemical compounds, suitable for the different kinds of soils and crops; also the method for making and applying such. He described, at some length, the different kinds of clays and earths, and the properties peculiar to them, and recommended farmers to have their lands chemically tested or analyzed, so as to enable them, by applying the necessary compounds, to make the soil suitable for particular crops.

Captain Hutton said that in anticipation of the paper, he had prepared a map showing where limestone existed in the province. It would be seen that it occurred all over the north, in small patches, but the only great mass was in that part, from Raglan harbour, to Aotea, Kawhia, and Mokau. As to the value of limestone as a manure, he should like to ask Mr. Wark what was done with the refuse lime from the gas-works, which was a most valuable manure.

Mr. Wark said that when the gas-works were first started, lime was used to purify the gas; but it had been found expensive, and he (Mr. Wark) now used oxide of iron, which cost three farthings, while the lime had cost sixpence. While the lime was being used, it was readily bought by the farmers at two shillings and sixpence per load. A good deal of ammonia had been given to farmers gratuitously, but he had not heard of the results. Perhaps Mr. Gillies, who had got some, would inform them as to his experience.

Mr. Gillies said he was convinced that the ammonia was one of the most valuable manures for grass; it would increase the crop at least one-third, and was excellent as a destroyer of grubs, wire-worms, and slugs. He was sorry to see that the farmers pooh-poohed so much the idea of agricultural chemistry being of any benefit. He had conversed with many of them, and was sorry to hear their opinions on the subject. He observed, that Dr. Hector had done something to create an interest in the subject, by advertising that any person who sent a bag of soil to Wellington, would get an analysis free. It seemed to him (Mr. Gillies) that every farmer ought to send down a specimen of the soil of his farm, and have it analyzed. He was surprised, however, to hear from Dr. Hector, when he was last in Auckland, that he had not got half a dozen

– 65 –

specimens of soils from the whole province. The Society might get specimens analyzed from every district in the province, and make out a map of soils, showing what their products might be. By this they would see, that, in one district wheat might advantageously be grown, in another clover, in another barley, and so on. Two years ago, he thought of growing vines at Mount Eden, which he thought would be admirably adapted for their growth. He found, however, that they produced too much wood, and did not succeed.

Dr. Fischer said that the soil upon which he had experimented, with reference to vines, was trachytic scoria, while Mount Eden was basaltic scoria. He (Dr. Fischer) had not yet succeeded very well with his vines. He believed that the Mount Eden soil would be too dry for the vines. Dr. Fischer remarked, that to have a map applied to such a purpose as that spoken of by Mr. Gillies, they would require to have the particulars of the climates of the different districts also.

Resolved, “That the Secretary be instructed to apply to Dr. Hector for forms respecting the analysis of soils.”

Fifth Meeting. September 7, 1868.
F. Whitaker, Esq., President, and subequently, J. B. Gillies, Esq., in the chair.

The chairman read the following list of donations, which had been made to the Society since last meeting:

Specimens of a Mactra, from the Alluvium of Kauwaeranga creek, Thames— Captain Hutton. Model of a river steamer; model of a line-of-battle ship; and leaf impressions from Waikato—T. Russell, Esq. Four copper coins—John Kirby, Esq. Coal, from Mount Rochfort, Nelson— H. Wrigg, Esq., C.E. Crystallized quartz, from the “York” and “Devon” claims—Mr. Cartwright.

Papers read:

(1.) “On Sinking Funds,” * by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S., illustrated by a series of calculations applicable to the different methods adopted to pay off debts.

(2.) Mr. Gillies read a paper, consisting of a letter to Captain Hutton from Mr. Mair, Resident Magistrate at Opotiki, descriptive of the tidal phenomenon at that place. (See Appendix.)

[Footnote] *This paper has also to be reserved, as it was found impossible to procure the type, for printing the algebraic formulæ which it contains, in Wellington—Ed.

– 66 –

Is the Land About Auckland Rising?

Dr. Purchas said that he might mention a very curious circumstance, with reference to the rise that had occurred in the land about Auckland. He thought it afforded positive proof that the land about Auckland was rising sufficiently to be quite measurable.

Messrs. Thornton and Co. got a supply of water from the harbour. They had a pipe fixed at some distance down the wharf, with a rose at the bottom. They have had to alter that rose three times, at intervals of three years. Mr. Firth had told him of the circumstance, and he believed that special pains had been taken with the fixing of the pipe the last time, in order to test the matter. He had been assured by a settler, that the harbour of Mahurangi was two feet less in depth than it was two years ago. If the bottom of the harbour was rising, it was a matter of vital importance to people in the neighbourhood of the city. He had no doubt about the accuracy of the information, as was shown by the falt that the rose had had to be altered three times, in order to get a supply of water at low tide. He could not think that the wharf had risen, and would suppose the traffic would rather tend to put it down.

A discussion ensued, in which Mr. Weymouth, Captain Hutton, Mr. Wark, Mr. Buckland, and Mr. Stewart took part. Most of the speakers seemed to be of opinion that there was not sufficient proof to show that the land was absolutely rising.

Captain Hutton said he should be happy to investigate the subject, and report upon it to next meeting.

Mr. Gillies said it seemed to him that two things had been brought before them, first, the silting up, and second, the average high-water, or low-water. The water would maintain its level whatever silting up occurred. The level was not affected in the slightest degree by the silting up of the harbour. He was sure they were much obliged to Dr. Purchas for having mentioned the matter, and to Captain Hutton for having volunteered to investigate it. In such a case, the facts must be carefully noted to be of any use at all.

(3.) “On the Preparation of Native Flax,” by A. G. Purchas, Esq., M.D.

(Extraots.)

Dr. Purchas described several different kinds of vegetable fibre; showing specimens derived from the Ti tree, and what he termed the most beautiful fibre he knew of, a fibre from the leaf of the Pineapple. He then

– 67 –

spoke of the Phormium tenax, and the capabilities of the fibre derived from it. He thought the refuse in manufacturing might be converted into useful brown paper. If used from the green loaf, he thought the paper would not require any size. The author then pointed out what he considered to be the necessary processes to produce the fibre. It was simply a mistake to talk about getting rid of the gum; it was the cellular tissue that they wanted to get rid of,—the gum was easily got out. Dr. Purchas said it was some years since he had made the discovery, that merely striking the loaf with a hammer, on a piece of hard wood, released the fibre.

He then spoke of the native mode, which, he said, was ingenious and effective, but in which there was a great waste. It also very easily fermented. When they wanted to make Kaitaka nets, the natives steeped the fibre, and boat it until it was freely divided. He also spoke of the boiling process, and showed a specimen prepared in that way. There was one person who prepared flax by boiling and then subjecting it to a mechanical process, which he kept secret. In speaking of the process of fermentation, Dr. Purchas said that it was averred that that process spoiled the fibre, which he thought likely. Dr. Purchas then exhibited a piece of rope made from the common flax produced at Waitangi. He would like to see a rope manufactory established here as well as at Canterbury.

Mr. Buckland said he was sure they were all much obliged to Dr. Purchas, for bringing before them a matter second in importance not even to the digging of gold. He was afraid they never could make flax well adapted to rope-making, unless they could succeed in preventing rotting. Dr. Purehas had told them that, before the war, the miners in Victoria had preferred the flax ropes, but they had found by experience that they could not stand exposure to wet, and they had ceased to use them. The fault faund in the rope was that it would not take tar well, and that it rotted. The system of cleaning the flax by beating was not new, as he had soon it in Wellington in 1840, where flax was manufactured by beating it between two pieces of hard wood. This plan was given up, and they afterwards took to boiling. If the people of New Zealand ever made up their minds to cultivate flax, they must take the Tihore, and there were several distinct kinds of Tihore. The best flax he knew of was to be found at Maungatautari, where the natives could earn seven shillings a day, at a price of twenty pounds per ton. That was done by using only the best description of flax. He trusted the

– 68 –

time was not far distant when they would be able to export a large quantity of flax.

Captain Hutton said flax could not be made useful for sailcloth.

Dr. Purchas said his own opinion was, that it was not good for sails, or for anything that had to be much exposed to the weather, as it was, destroyed by constant wetting and drying. With regard to ropes, there was a mode of preparation that would make it take tar. The Ti tree. fibre had enormous power in resisting the weather, but they could only apply the flax fibre to its proper purpose. If they took, the New Zealand, flax, they might make a rope from it stronger, almost, than any other; but if they wanted it to retain its strength they must coat it with material to keep it from the weather. Therefore, he freely acknowledged that New Zealand flax was not a good material for rope-making, where it was to be exposed to constant changes in the weather without any protecting material. Whether, when tarred, it would last as long as a rope made. from European flax, he did not know; he should say not. Probably one great reason was that the tar penetrated more thoroughly into the inner fibres of the European rope. If they subdivided the fibre of the Phormium tenax, they gained strength on the knot, but lost strength in the direct line of the fibre.

Mr. Wrigley said there was one point spoken of by Dr. Purchas, he, should like some further explanation about, namely, as to mixing the flax with other materials.

Mr. Stewart said his impression was, that the flax would take tar much better than Manilla, although not so well as hemp.

Dr. Purchas said that in one place in Yorkshire, ten thousand pounds worth of machinery had been put up to work the New Zealand flax, but they could not get a supply, and the machinery had to be taken down. That was what they were constantly told from England—there is no use in sending samples; send us the material by ship-loads and we will take it, and give a good price.

The Chairman said that he might make some remarks on the subject, having been one of the committee of the House of Representatives. in 1860, when Dr. Purchas's patent was passed. He confessed that he was utterly against patents, and thought them wrong in principle. He, however, happened to be on the committee on Dr. Purchas's application, and he was very much pleased when Dr. Purchas showed him the principle upon which he was manufacturing the flax. He was surprised as well as pleased at the simplicity, and yet effectiveness, of it; and when he

– 69 –

went South he tried all he could to interest some of the people there in the matter, and get them to take up the patent and work it. He did all he could to push it, there, because he believed it to be a right principle. He had seen it, and it seemed to him to be a right principle mechanically; and upon these grounds it seemed to him that the principle was adapted not only to flax, but other materials like flax. He remembered being surprised, in the committee, to see an aloe, and the fibre from that leaf, produced there. By the percussion process they got rid of the epidermis and cellular tissue of the flax, and then there was left the fibre intact; but that fibre consisted of a multitude of fibres glued together, as they might see, by some matter which had been called a gum—an insoluble gum—and by other names. If they got rid of that gum, they reduced it from a fibre—a very strong fibre—into two. If they got rid of the gum by chemicals, boiling, or in any other way, just in proportion as they got rid of it, they also got rid of the tenacity of the fibre, and rendered it useful for other purposes, such as for paper-making. The grand question was, where was the exact limit—where it would pay best—whether to get it in its greatest strangth longitudinally; or to reduce it more or less into tow, when it might be useful for mixing with woollen, cotton, or other substances.

Dr. Purchas said he had omitted to mention one thing in connection with the preparation of the flax, namely, that the refuse made most excellent food for cattle.

Sixth Meeting. October 5, 1868.
F. Whitaker, Esq., President, in the chair.

The Chairman observed, that he was sorry he had not been present at the meeting on the previous Saturday. Had he been so he would have drawn up a closing address, and delivered it on this the closing night of the session. Had he known that such an address was expected from him, he would have been prepared to have drawn it up, but he had quite forgotten that that was the last night of the session. He made this explanation so that the mombers might not think he was careless in the matter. He would always be most glad to devote his time to advancing the interests of the Institute. Looking at the past session, he thought they had on the whole been as successful as they could have expected; and if the members would devote a little extra time, gathering up information, in the recess, for the next sessional meetings, there was no doubt it would be a very great success.

– 70 –

The following contributions were announced:

One copper coin—Mr. Charles Hime. Two Australian birds—Captain Holt, from Sir George Grey. One Frog—Mr. Isaac Hunt, Tapu. One specimen from the “Kyber Pass” claim—Mr. R. M. Heighton. Thirty-three rock specimens from the Thames—Mr. O'Keeffe. Ianthina Exigua, and two other shells; specimens of fossil wood—Mrs. W. Young. Skin of an undescribed Petrel—donor's name unknown, left at the museum. Sundry rock specimens—Colonel De Quincey. Minerals from the caves at the Three Kings—Captain Hutton. Specimen of Spider—supposed to be the Katipo.

Papers read:

(1.) “Analyses of Waters, lately forwarded to Dr. Hector, at Wellington.”

(Extracts.)

“Class IV. Results of analysis of specimen No. 156-L; water, six bottles; forwarded by T. B. Gillies; locality, Hot Springs, near Mahurangi, Auckland; received, 24th January, 1868; reported on, 25th February, 1868; 4 oz. of water from cold spring (A), yielded 1.85 grains, or per gallon 74.grains; ditto hot (B), 3.51 grains, or per gallon 140.4 grains; ditto hottest (C), 3.54 grains, or per gallon 141.6 grains. The analysis of the solid residue from (A), could not be completed for want of material.

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Analysis, (A.)
gr. gr.
Sulphuric acid .22 or per gal. 8.80
Chlorine .56 or per gal. 22.40
Lime .13 or per gal. 5.20
Magnesia .23 or per gal. 9.20
Silica .08 or per gal. 3.20
Potash .12 or per gal. 4.80
Balance left, probably carbonic acid and soda .51 or per gal. 20.40
1.85 74.00

[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]

Analysis of the Solid Residue from B.
gr gr.
Chloride or magnesium .55 or per gal. 22.00
Chloride of calcium .42 or per gal. 16.80
Chloride of sodium 2.13 or per gal. 85.20
Silica .09 or per gal. 3.60
Potash traces traces
Carbonic and sulphurous acids traces traces
Constitutional water and loss .32 or per gal. 12.80
3.51 140.40
– 71 –

“(C.) The composition of C appearing the same as B to a qualitative examination, it was not quantitatively analyzed.

James Hector

.

“New Zealand Geological Survey Laboratory.”

“Results of analysis of specimens No. 252-L, forwarded by T. B. Gillies, Esq., from a hot-spring near a lake on the west side of the Waikato river, received September 23, 1868:

“Water: Character, clear; reaction is decidedly alkaline; contains 47.04 grains of fixed matter per gallon, consisting principally of alkaline chlorides, the remainder being chieflly silicates of lime and alkaline carbonates.

“The carbonaceous matters are very small in quantity.

“Note.—The quantity of water furnished was far too small to admit of a complete quantitative analysis.

“Forwarded for Mr. Gillies's information.

James Hector.

“New Zealand Geological Survey Laboratory,
“September 24, 1868.”

Hot Springs.

Mr. Gillies, referring to the water taken from the neighbourhood of Wangape, said the spring was so hot that eggs could be boiled in it.

Captain Hutton gave a description of the spring in question. It was about four miles from Lake Wangape, in the Waikato There were several hot-springs close together, but this was the largest of them, being about fifteen yards long by five yards broad, and it was very deep. The water was so hot that it was impossible to bear the hand in it for more than a second; and, on one occasion, when he was in company with others in the neighbourhood of this spring, having caught a pig for dinner, they fastened it with flax and threw it into the spring, and, on taking it out, it was perfectly scalded, and they had no difficulty in scraping the hair off. The temperature of the spring was from 160° to 200° at the very least. The water itself was almost tasteless; he had drank it himself. He thought it was the carbonate of sodium which gave it the re-action referred to. What its effects would be as a mineral spring he could not say; but it was easy of access, was very prettily situated, and was not above fifty miles from Auckland, and he trusted that some day it would be called into use.

Mr. Gillies said, with regard to the hot-springs at Mahurangi, when he was there last year, he took samples of water from the three springs,

– 72 –

and forwarded them for analysis. The coolest of the springs ranged from 110° upwards. He believed that many of our Auckland residents had derived much good from bathing in these springs, for the purpose of curing rheumatism.

Remarkable Circumstance Connected with the Saving of Gold.

Mr. Whitaker said that a most remarkable circumstance had come to his notice, which he thought, now that the subject of water was under discussion, was well worthy of being mentioned. Close to the “Kuranui” there was another claim called the “Long Drive,” from which came a small stream of water, which was used by the Kuranui Company, to work their machine. To this machine there were two batteries, one of which was worked by the water he had mentioned, and the other by water which came from the hill above, by the Kuranui creek. It was found that the battery worked by the water coming from the creek, always produced more gold than the one worked by water from the “Long Drive,” although both batteries were treated in precisely the same manner. Alterations were made; but the yield was still the same, when the waters were crossed, and the right-hand battery worked by the water which had previously been used for the left-hand one. The consequence was that the right-hand battery then produced more than the left-hand one. Experiments were again made, and the effect was always the same: whenever the water from the “Long Drive” was used—from one-third to half the gold was lost. This was stated to him by the manager of the claim, who put down the whole result, to the water coming from the “Long Drive.” If they stopped the water from the creek, and used that coming from the “Long Drive” only, the result was still the same, they lost from a third to half the gold. In consequence of this statement of the manager, he (the speaker) had brought up two bottles of water from the “Long Drive,” for the purpose of having it analyzed. It was a matter of the greatest importance, that it should be ascertained what the contents consisted of. The other water, by which the battery produced the most gold, came from the Moanataiari hill, which was the richest hill as yet found on the gold field. The people who had given him the information on this subject, might possibly be mistaken, but he was quite sure they were not deceiving him. The water which he had brought up he intended to forward to Dr. Hector for analysis.

It was a most important question, involving immense monetary considerations. If the statement made to him were correct, and he had no

– 73 –

reason to doubt it, that this water from the “Long Drive” lost say even a third of the gold, which could be obtained by using the other water, then the losses must already have been very large.

Dr. Purchas asked if the water used from the hill referred to, as saving the most, gold, was clean.

Mr. Whitaker replied, that it was pretty clean; it was used at one machine, before coming down to the “Kuranui;” but it was filteted, and tolerably pure when used by that company.

Captain Hutton said that, taking the general question of water, there are more hot-springs in Auckland, in proportion to its size, than in any other part of the world. A great many had already been discovered, and there were, doubtless, many more lying undiscovered, away in the far north—probably a vast number. No doubt some day these springs would prove as attractive, as those of Switzerland and Germany did in the present day. He had drank the water from the spring at Whangarei, and it was quite equal to any Seidlitz water he had ever tasted in his life.

With regard to the question of analysis, he thought it useless to send less than six gallons of water, if a thorough analysis were, required; as a large quantity had to be evaporated, to leave an appreciable residue. Respecting the question brought by Mr. Whitaker before the notice of the members of the Institute, it was certainly very remarkable, but he was not at all disposed to doubt it; but, taking it for granted that one water saved more gold that the other, it could only arise from one of two causes—the one chemical, and the other mechanical. The two waters mentioned might be of different specific gravities. This might be a possible explanation, but he did not think it was sufficient to account for it. The water spoken of by Mr. Whitaker probably contained silica in solution. What action the silica might have upon the gold was very, obscure; but still there was the fact as stated by Mr. Whitaker; and there might be some unknown action between silica, which was an acid, and gold, which might have some effect on the gold, and make it less susceptible of amalgamating with the mercury, than if the water were quite clear. He only threw out these suggestions on the spur of the moment, the question having come up during the last half hour.

(2.) “On the Geology of the Island of Pakihi,” by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S. (See Transactions.)

Captain Hutton said there were two or three things in connnection with the island of Pakihi, which gave it a particular interest, one of

– 74 –

which was, that it contained large quantities of manganese, by which they might ultimately be able to extract gold from iron pyrites without having to roast it.

Best Method of Saving Gold at the Thames.

Dr. Purchas said that he was aware that on that occasion he had promised to give a viva voce description of the various processes employed in saving gold. He had, however, had no time to get up his subject as he should have wished, but would, as there was so little business on the paper, say a few words on the subject. The speaker then went on to describe the manner in which gold was treated in South America, saying that far poorer ores than those at the Thames, were crushed and made payable. Speaking of the space required for the working of some of the machinery in South America, he said that on many claims, a space as large as six men's ground at the Thames, was required for amalgamating ground. He then briefly explained the process by which the amalgamation took place. The ore, speaking more particularly of silver ore, was laid upon the ground mixed with salt, and horses were kept going round, treading upon it, and so breaking it fine. It was also dressed three or four times with quicksilver, and, in some seasons of the year, small quantities of lime were added. It was a remarkable circumstance that in the winter the temperature was made higher, and in the summer it was made lower, by the process. If the ore was poor in sulphur, then another ore, having sulphur, was mixed with it, and trodden down in it to make it work, and left on the ground, in summer sixteen days, and in winter twenty-five days. The way in which the thorough amalgamation and separation was afterwards carried on, by means of certain machinery, was fully explained by the speaker. Then there was another process, by which ores were roasted, and mixed with salt, and placed in barrels having certain machinery, for separation and amalgamation. So perfect was this system, that a very minute portion of metal was left in the ore. The heat, dews, wet, and the magnetic state of the atmosphere, all played a part towards the extraction of the metal from the ore. They might say this process was very rough, but if it saved the gold, what mattered it? At present, at the Thames, a great part—he might say the greater part—of the gold was lost, even with the best machinery. One reason of which, he believed, was because the process was gone through far too quickly; and another thing that militated against the thorough saving of gold, was the immense quantity of undecomposed sulphurets that pass through the mills. Speaking of the amount of gold that might be

– 75 –

extracted from these iron pyrites, Dr. Purchas said that in Australia as much as forty ounces to the ton had been obtained.

Captain Hutton said, ninety in some places.

Dr. Purchas said that if that were the case, there must be an enormous quantity of gold lost at the Thames. He was much struck, in reading over a book on the subject of gold separating and amalgamating, to find that in one mine in California, a shaft had been sunk thirteen hundred feet, and yet notwithstanding the immense depth, the shareholders said that it paid better than ever it had done before. Even then it was only yielding an ounce to the ton; and if this could be done in California, surely it could be done here where there was a yield of three or four ounces. Another thing he wished to say about the Thames, and that was, that a great deal of the soil that was thrown away, in fact, in the majority of cases, contained a large per-centage of gold.

Captain Hutton asked whether the earth was meant, or the casing of the veins.

Dr. Purchas said it would be the casing he was referring to. With regard to the processes he had mentioned of getting the gold from the stone, many people would grumble at the time taken, but everything of this sort required to be done by companies. He thought it was a mistake to attempt to mine at the Thames as diggers were doing at the present time; the right way to do it was to mine with companies, and with large areas of ground and proper machinery. He believed an immense amount of labour was wasted: certainly a large amount of gold was.

Mr. Gillies said he would not discuss the question of gold-saving, but there was one thing which he would ask the Society and the people at large not to admit, and that was, that large public companies were always the best. While he admitted the advantages which the companies had for working the ground by means of capital, he did not believe in their finding out anything new in the mode of saving gold. If anything new was to be found it would be done by individual miners.

Dr. Fischer thought the only sure way of saving the whole of the gold, was by the hot-blast process, as it was termed. The speaker then explained, by means of diagrams, the whole process from beginning to end.

Captain Hutton thought the idea of the last speaker, with regard to the zinc plates, was a fallacious one, saying they would stop the very stuff intended to be thrown off the tables. It would be, in his opinion,

– 76 –

far better to have what was known as a broken table, with movable copper plates, so that as soon as they were fully charged with amalgam, they could be removed and others substituted, which would in many instances effect a large saving of the precious metal. With regard to what had been said, and what was always being said, about new inventions for saving gold, he believed, for his own part, that those machines which had been used in Australia and California were thoroughly good; and it was a mistake to get any on new principles till they had tested the good old ones. Many ingenious inventions had been put forward for saving gold, more inventions than for anything else, but all he could say about most of them was, that they were very much advertised and very little used. With regard to what had been said by Dr. Purchas, the processes he had described were applicable mainly to the saving of silver from ores containing gold, which was very different from the requirements of the Thames. In Victoria, at the starting of the gold-fields, the same high charges ruled for crushing as were now paid at the Thames; and the consequence was that only a few claims really paid, whereas, now that prices were low, two thousand reefs were worked. In his opinion, to have the thing properly worked, every claim must have its own machine, going night and day, and crush everything before it. Another great drawback was the want of security; and until claims were held on the same kind of leases as other property, no man of sense would put much money in them. But, given these two things—security and machinery—for every claim, and he was convinced that the Thames, for its area, would turn out more gold than any other field yet known; and continue to do so, perhaps, for centuries to come. Speaking of the gold contained in the iron pyrites at the Thames, Captain Hutton said that it would yield from three ounces to thirty ounces to the ton (of pyrites, of course); but that would not pay under the present system. He hoped he would see the day when the whole face of the rock would be taken down, and everything treated properly, either by the roasting system or chlorine, so as to make it all pay; though, no doubt, it would be some time before that would come to pass.

Captain Hutton proposed that Dr. Ferdinand Hochstetter should be elected the first Honorary member of the Auckland Institute.

Mr. Gillies seconded the proposition, and, in doing so, said it was doing honour to themselves more than to the doctor. Carried unanimously.

The Chairman then declared the present session of the Institute closed for the season, but stated that Council meetings would take place as usual.