Now covered in regeneration, the mountain to the north of Pyengana, the Blue Tier, was known by locals as the ‘Mountain of Tin’. Today, little evidence of the frenzy of human activity remains. Nestled among manferns in the forest, however, are the remains of the once impressive Anchor stamper mill.
From 1874 there was a flood of discoveries on the Blue Tier with alluvial workings and mines dotting the landscape. In 1879, the tin field experienced a temporary downturn with the discovery of gold at Mt Arthur, leading to European miners abandoning their tin claims, leaving them to the Chinese. When the gold rush proved a sham, some of the miners returned to the Blue Tier only to find that the Chinese miners had extracted most of the remaining tin.
A second rush occurred in 1880 when tin was found in the Groom River and the Anchor Mine Mining Company was floated. The owners opened two mine faces, erected a crushing plant and installed a 40-head (later 100-head) stamper mill. A waterwheel, an estimated 60 feet (20metres) in diameter and weighing 100 tonnes, was used to power the stamper battery.
Many streams and water races were used to provide water - 10 tonnes of water was required to drive the wheel one revolution but even that proved inadequate. The wheel was only able to drive 30 of the 40 original stampers. Due to unsuitable equipment and a lack of water, the mine closed in 1885 and the company was sold two years later.