Location 194
Location 194. Excelsior No 2 Coal Mine.
Map 6



Lower Bannockburn Creek


Location 194. Excelsior No 2 Coal Mine.

Still Standing


Underground workings may still exist however the mine entrance has been destroyed. This area is now under Lake Dunstan.

Construction Details

Location Type


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Interested Parties

The table below shows the groups of people that had an interest in this property, either as owners, residents, tenants or shareholders. Clicking on the 'Details' link will display a list of the individuals in the group along with any known historical information about them.

Group Date Description
1 1897 - 1900 J Gibson & W R Parcell (2) Details
2 1900 - 1909 The Cromwell & Bannockburn Colliery Company Details
3 1909 - 1917 The Cairnmuir Coal Company Details
4 1917 The Bannockburn Coal Company Details


The table below shows any historical notes about the location.

Note Date Short Description Note Text
2335 1897 Mine location Right bank of the Lower Bannockburn Creek, now the eastern side of the Bannockburn inlet. Approx 0.8 km from the Kawarau River.
2336 1897 General notes. (from J P Parcell's notes) in August of 1897 J L Gibson and W R Parcell (2) took up an area of land on the eastern side of the Lower Bannockburn Creek, about 0.8 km from the Kawarau River. They prospected, with the aid of a 15 year old boy by the name of John Patrick Parcell, a nephew of W R Parcell. Three places were prospected in the area of the old Cairnmuir Mine of Anderson & Ridland, location #190. Then Mr Gibson struck coal near Charlie Angel's old tunnel, location #392. The group dug a shaft to the coal which they accessed from a long tramway located in an old tailrace. They started selling coal using Mr Edward McNulty as their carter.
2337 1897 General notes - (from J P Parcell's notes) In May of 1897 the Cromwell Coal Mine opened up again. Mr McNulty persuaded Gibson and Parcell to move to Cromwell, to work the Cromwell Coal Mine. However, this mine was soon closed down again due to the inflow of water. Mess'rs Parcell & Gibson returned to their Bannockburn Creek coal mine. They constructed a dip or decline of about 60m before they struck the good coal. To haul up the coal and water they required a horse. A fine old horse was located at Hawksburn Station and the young J P Parcell was sent to get him. he was located down near the Fraser River. It was a long walk for a fifteen year old boy. The married couple on Hawkesburn Station (the Hinds) thought that John Parcell worked for Kawarau Station and gave him his dinner. The horse had been out in the paddock for too long and had to have his feet trimmed down before being re-shod. Old Duke turned out to be a fine horse for the job and worked until he was replaced by a steam driven winch. The young john Parcell was in charge of old Duke and together they would truck out the bags of coal, or a tank of water on a mine trolley. When not hauling, John dug coal. His pay was 25 shillings per week for 6 days, plus 2 hours on Sunday. Bill and young John Parcell camped in a small hut in Bannockburn Creek, location #393. For a time, James Gibson also dug coal. John Parcell and Duke hauled the coal to the surface, then Bill Parcell carted the coal, but his team was not the best.
2338 1897 General notes (from J P Parcell's notes) The coal trade increased with the start of the dredging boom. The mine got the contract to supply coal to the Electric Gold Dredging Company's no 1 dredge. The extra income meant that the mine could be upgraded. A boiler and steam engine were installed, along with a de-watering pump and a hauling winch. More workers were taken on. This ended the jobs for young John Parcell and the faithful old horse Duke.
2339 1898 General notes (from J P Parcell's notes) John Parcell again came to work in the Excelsior No 2 Coal Pit. He was paid 4 shillings per ton, or three pence per bag to dig, bag, and truck the coal to the bottom of the decline. With 16 bags to the ton, and the coal face a long way from the decline, this was very hard work. The empty truck had then to be taken back to the face loaded with empty bags. At this time the miners in the Excelsior No 2 Mine were : Frank Jones (Francis) Jack mcCabe John Flynn Alex Clark John Patrick Parcell Jim Donnelly Jim Hancock Jack Crombie (there last three may have been working in the other end of the mine - Wilson's - location #160) At this time the mine had been connected with the Wilson's Coal Mine underground. The miners in Wilson's Mine at this time were: Jack Taylor and the Cooper family (John and son James) and they were still there in Nov of 1900.
2340 1899 General notes In May it was reported that the Excelsior No 2 Coal Mine was well equipped and producing excellent returns of around 100 tons of coal per week.
2341 1899 General notes. In February 1899 and advert in the Cromwell Argus stated that ' Parcell and Gibson were prepared to deliver coal on the Bannockburn at 16 shillings per ton, cash within a month of delivery ; or at 18 shillings per ton booked ; 10 shillings at the pit mouth ' Yhis may have been from the Excelsior No 2 mine.
2342 1900 General note. In April of 1900 the Cromwell & Bannockburn Colliery Company was formed. The company took over location #194 along with other major mines in the area.
2343 1900 General notes. In April of 1900 the Cromwell & Bannockburn Colliery Company was formed to buy all of the coal mines in Bannockburn. The directors were : the Hon T Fergus, D A Jolly, T K Harty, J C Thomson, J Horn, J Gibson and W R Parcell. The company took over the Excelsior No 2 mine ( Parcell and Gibson ) along with Prydes mines at Adams Gully (location #255), at Shepherds Creek (location #183) and Wilsons mine (on the Kawarau location #160).
2344 various Mine managers. The mines general managers were as follows : John St Vincent Jaxon 1901 - 1902. Thomas Barclay 1902 - 1903. Alexander Sinclair Gillanders 1903 - 1908, William Richard Parcell 1908 - 1909.
2345 1900 From J P Parcells Notes. John Parcell worked in the Excelsior No 2 Mine at this time and describes it in his notes. " There was room to put in another drive from the well hole at the bottom of the decline. I was on night shift and young Jimmy Horn (not related to James B Horne from the store - maybe son of James Horn dwelling #12 1886-1916) was taking out the coal and water. I had to start the new drive about 2 feet from the tram rails. The night I started, I had dug 10 or 12 bags of coal and had them stacked on the tramway to be hauled up. Horn was taking out water at the time in a tank on a truck. By this time I had my drive in by about a foot, the tank of water went way up the decline. I went on working, then I heard a load noise and knew that the tank of water was coming back down at a great speed. I could not get out in time, so I squeezed myself as tight as I could in the hole that I had made. The tank truck came down with a terrific roar and struck the bags of coal that I had stacked on the tramway but the tank of water carried on for about 10 feet, cutting through the tops of the bags of coal on its way. I had only a foot to spare. Horn thought that I had been killed, however I was not hurt, but my light had been blown out. I had another experience with young Jimmy Horn shortly after. He was hauling up a truck of coal one night when a bag fell off. He was to lower the truck back down to me and I would put the bag back on the truck and send it back up. I was on my way up the drive to meet the truck when I heard it coming down - Jimmy had forgotten to hook on the rope. I had very little chance to get clear, however I knew there was a man hole (a small dugout in the wall to provide safety for the miners from the trucks in the decline). I jumped around quickly to get into the hole but in doing so my light went out. Then all was quiet, the jigger on the back of the truck (a type of emergency brake) ran into the bag of coal on the tramway and stopped the truck. The Excelsior No 2 Mine and Wilsons Mine (location #160) were both managed by William Richard Parcell (2). Under his guidance they were joined together under ground and extended under the Bannockburn Creek. At this point the mine became known simply as the Excelsior. "
2346 1900 Mine workers. in November of 1900, these miners were working in the Excelsior No 2 mine : Frank Jones, Jack McCabe, John Flynn, Alex Clark, John Patrick Parcell (left in Nov 1900), James Donnelly, James Hancock, Jack Crombie, James Henry Horn, William Richard Parcell (2) (mine manager).
2347 1903 Mine workers. In 1903, or possibly later, the following miners were working in the mine : James Hancock, William Cooper, William Atcheson, John Short, Henry Charles Russell, William Richard Parcell (2) (mine manager), Thomas Soden, John Hodson (2). The pit pony was called Darkie.
2348 1906 General notes. The mine supplied coal for sixteen steam powered gold dredges working on the Kawarau and Clutha rivers. The coal was sold for 12 shillings per ton at the mine - this includes the price of the sacks.
2349 1907 General notes. By the beginning of this year the recession in dredging had set in and in October the company had to close down the Excelsior Mine for a time.
2350 1908 General notes. James Park in his NZ Geological Survey Bulletin No 5 - the geology of the Cromwell subdivision, western Otago division, mentions the Excelsior - Parcell & Gibson Mine. " The lignite crops out a few chains east of the main incline, from which the mine is worked, and strikes about north and south. It dips west at an angle of about 10 degrees. Three seams are seen in going down the incline : namely two near the surface and one at the bottom. The upper seams are 18 inches and 5 feet thick respectively. They are separated by a bed of fireclay from 2 foot to 3 foot thick. The main seam is about 7 foot thick and contains some 5 foot and 6 inches thickness of workable coal. It is remarkably free from shakes and faults, and maintains a uniform thickness over a length of nearly 3/4 of a mile. The seam being worked is overlain by thin banded sandy clays which in places contain the numerous casts of a fresh water bivalve resembling those found in the Maniototo basin. A feature of this coal, and one not often seen in NZ, is a very distinctive vertical "cleat" or series of cleavage planes lying close together which traverse the seam at right angles to the plane of the strike. in other words they run parallel with the direction of the dip, forming what in England would be termed 'butt cleat' "
2351 1909 General notes. On November 8 1909, the Cromwell Argus reported that the rails and pumps were removed from the Exclesior coal pit. The company had tried to sell their coal leases on the Cairnmuir seam without success. In November the 'Excelsior Mine' was closed down and the company abandoned their lease. The Excelsior had produced about 42,189 tonnes of coal during it's working life. The coal lease on the Cairnmuir seam was then taken up by the Cairnmuir Coal Company.
2352 1909 General Note. The Cairnmuir Coal Company took up the coal seam lease on the Cairnmuir seam. They re-opened the Excelsior mine and the Cairnmuir mine (location #191). The directors of the company were William Robertson & Party. They appointed Mr James Lewis as their mine manager.
2353 1917 Formation of the Bannockburn Coal Company. At this time the owners of the three working coal mines in Bannockburn decided to amalgamate and form the Bannockburn Coal Company.
2354 1917 Amalgamation of the three working mines in Bannockburn. The owners of the three working mines in Bannockburn decided to amalgamate and form the Bannockburn Coal Company. As a result the only mine to remain open was the Kawarau mine (location #249) in Shepherds Creek. The Excelsior Mine (location #194) was closed down.
2355 c1919 General notes, The company made an attempt to open up the southern end of the Cairnmuir seam, however nothing came of it.


The table below shows a list of images related to the location. Click on 'View Image' to display more details about the image, and to view the image.

Image Id Source Date Short Description
107 Cromwell Argus via Eileen Olds 7 Feb 1899 Parcell & Gibson Coal Pit View Image
108 Cromwell Argus via Eileen Olds 7 Feb 1899 Parcell & Gibson Coal Pit View Image
155 Heart of the Desert - J P Parcell c1903 or later Excelsior No 2. Coal Mine - Bannockburn Creek. View Image
624 Cromwell museum. T Emmitt, Bannockburn c 1903 or later Excelsior No 2 Coal Mine - Bannockburn Creek View Image
773 Paul Crump - Bannockburn 2002 Bannockburn Inlet - looking east. View Image
1193 Paul Crump - Bannockburn c1909 Plan of Parcell & Gibson's 'Excelsior No 2.' Coal Mine - location #194. View Image