John Butters Power Station
Location: 10km South of Queenstown, along Mt Jukes Road | Google Maps Reference
Key facts about this geosite:
• Pleasant 300 m walk leads to the power station and view across the river
• Gold nuggets up to 26 g were documented in the King River
Geosite Description: The John Butters Power Station is part of the King River Scheme and is located about 7 kilometres downstream from the Crotty Dam and Lake Burbury. Here, the King River emerges from an 8-km long gorge that has cut through the conglomerates, sandstones and volcanic rocks of the West Coast Range between Mt Huxley and Mt Jukes. At the top end of the gorge, the King River has been dammed to form Lake Burbury. Water is diverted from the lake, through a tunnel beneath Mt Jukes, to generate electricity at the power station. There is a good overview of the King River gorge from a lookout near Mt Jukes, further along the road.
Several old gold workings exist in the forest around the power station, most are overgrown and obscure but some are marked by tape. Alluvial gold, probably derived from various sources including mineralised veins and copper-gold in the Cambrian volcanic bedrock, has been deposited in the bed of the King River. Gold nuggets up to 26 g were reported in the Examiner newspaper (6/1/1882) (Bottrill, 1989). The area continues to be popular with amateur gold prospectors, who can pan gold in the river when the water is low. Panners must be aware, however, that the water level can rise very suddenly when the Power Station is started.