The Thames School of Mines opened in 1886. This was one of about 30 such schools set up to provide practical training for the gold miners during the gold rush years. It addressed such problems as the low amount of gold that could be recovered. During these times Thames swelled to be the 4th largest New Zealand city.
Other buildings were added, as needed and prominent among these additions was the large mineralogical museum that opened in 1901. The complex is particularly significant for its links with science and technology, still containing a large amount of equipment related to the development and teaching of mining and extraction techniques. Its well-preserved interiors demonstrate the use and appearance of educational structures prior to the twentieth century. The school closed in 1954.
The Thames School of Mines site is nationally significant as a rare and best example of a School of Mines still open to the public. Very few Schools of Mines buildings survive in New Zealand and, of these, the Thames complex is undoubtedly the best preserved and most authentic.
You can also take the gold mine tour which is just down the road. This is your opportunity to go deep underground into the 100 year old Golden Crown Mine and also see the old stamper battery actually working. Check out the photo history room and try your hand at panning for gold.
There is also the Thames Historical Museum which gives you a look at the workings of the early days of settlement and the stories of the gold rush. It also has displays on kauri logging, the other big industry here.
Corner of Brown and Cochrane Streets Thames
07 868 6227