The Come-in-Time quartz reef was the last one discovered at Bendigo. It was mined in several bursts with often disappointing results, but the claim area is today an historic treasure. With easy access to the mine entrance and a fully restored stamper battery it offers a rare and almost complete picture of hard-rock quartz mining in Central Otago.
Access is from Thomson Gorge Road. This is a four wheel drive road and should not be attempted in winter or adverse weather conditions. Entry is possible from Matakanui in the Manuherikia Valley or from Bendigo, north of Cromwell. A marked track leads past the tunnel entrance to the stamper battery farther down the hill. There are many shafts in the area and extreme care is required.
This claim was subject to both open workings and tunnel operations and there are various interesting remnants along the way. It is worth taking a torch to explore the opening of the mine which extends up to 60 metres into the hillside. Further on is the restored stamper battery; an excellent example of the heavy equipment used in hard-rock gold mining.
The Come-In-Time Reef was discovered in 1880 on a ridge between Rise and Shine Creek and Shepherds Creek. A battery and double tramway and steel rope conveyer to transport ore to the crusher, were erected. The first crushing yielded only 110 ounces of gold from 350 tons of ore. Further attempts were made in 1909 and1919, but they were all short lived.
In 1912 two brothers came across a patch of good ore on the neighbouring Alta Reef, over the ridge to the south. They made an aerial cableway and lowered the ore to the abandoned Come-in-Time battery. The returns were reasonable until the ore ran out about two years later. Some of the cableway gear is still visible high up on the opposite slope.