The Richmond Range extends from Tophouse Saddle through Red Hill–which is the highest mountain in this range (5,875 ft) – and continues through Bushy Top, Rintoul, Old Man, Richmond, Fishtail, and Baldy Peaks to Mount Riley, a distance of 50 miles. The range is bounded to the south-east by the Wairau fault-angle depression, to the north by Pelorus River and the Sounds, and to the northwest by the Bryant Range, which leads off from Old Man. The vegetation of the south-western part consists mainly of tussock, while the north-eastern part of the range is covered mainly by indigenous forest.
The south-western part of this range – Red Hill – is well known as part of the “Mineral Belt”, which consists mainly of old rocks of volcanic origin. Minerals and trace elements associated with the dunite and serpentine of the belt are chromite and copper ore, which are found mainly on Dun Mountain on the northerly extension of this range; nickel and cobalt occur as trace elements, serpentine is in inexhaustible supply, while asbestos occurs in thin veins in the serpentine.
Further to the north-east in this range the schist rocks have yielded reef gold and have also been the source of the alluvial gold found in the Wakamarina and Mahakipawa Valleys, whose streams drain the north-western flank of this range, and in the Waikakaho Stream, which drains the south-western flank of this range. A quartz lode at Deep Creek in the Wakamarina Valley has yielded a few tons of scheelite (tungsten ore).
The Hon. Mathew Richmond was a pioneer runholder of Marlborough. His station, Richmond Brook, was managed by his son, A. J. Richmond. The name probably honours the son, who was long resident in Marlborough.
by Geert Jan Lensen, New Zealand Geological Survey, Lower Hutt.