Arrowtown celebrates gold rush
Sat, 20 Oct 2012 6:22p.m.
By Leanne Malcolm
Thousands of people have turned out in Arrowtown to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold there.
They watched 200 people re-enact events from the gold rush that led to the birth of the Central Otago town.
Arrowtown turned back the clock today to 1862, and for a magical few hours the banks of the Arrow River were brimming with European and Chinese miners, wild women and horses. It was easy to imagine how hard conditions would have been back then.
“Caught in floods, living on bacon and damper, some made their fortunes,” says Lakes District Museum director David Clark. “Others turned back. Others got drunk I suppose!”
But the lure of making it rich drew people from all over the world, prepared to chuck their jobs to join the gold fever.
There are stories about half a million pounds sitting in a tent armed by one orderly and no one stealing it, but it was coming out that thick and fast. There were some heated arguments as miners tried to stake their claim.
In the first two weeks, 600 ounces of weighted gold was hauled in. That's equivalent to $13 million in today’s currency. And that's how Arrowtown was born.
The exact value of the gold discovered then isn't documented.
“It’s never been established in the billions in today’s currency,” says Mr Clark.
And there's still gold to be found today.
“The last one, this one here, was found just a few months ago from somewhere I believe near the shotover,” says Justin Eden of the Gold Shop. “They don't tell us where they find them.”
Every day, the prospect of finding gold draws people to the river, and today's celebration may make some pine for the bawdy good old days.
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21/10/2012 9:15:26 a.m.
brian pascoe wrote:
great story about arrowtown wish i new it was to be celibrated i would have been there top video thanks for good story about nz
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