Kōrero: Fiction

Gold diggings, Clutha River, 1862

Gold diggings, Clutha River, 1862

The 1860s gold rush and rugged life on the goldfields provided novelists with a rich seam of material for stories. In Vincent Pyke's The story of wild Will Enderby (1873), Englishman Harry Grey (or, to give him his true name, Will Enderby) and American George Washington Pratt team up to try their luck in the Central Otago goldfields. They encounter plenty of villains, disasters and romantic strife along the way. Grey/Enderby and Pratt stake their claim in the area where, in real life, Horatio Hartley and Christopher Reilly first struck gold in 1862. The narrator describes the area (pictured) and its inhabitants:

As the day wore on many people passed by; for it was the time of the great Dunstan 'Rush', and a host of miners were hurrying from all parts of New Zealand, and from over the sea, to participate in the golden spoils of the Molyneux [the Clutha River], the existence whereof had recently been made known by the now famous prospectors, Hartley and Reilly. First came three men, hirsute and stalwart, each with blankets on shoulder, pannikin on belt, pick and shovel in hand. Then two, similarly accoutred, and accompanied by a huge mongrel dog, also loaded with a 'swag'. Then others, with a woman 'of the baser sort', rude of speech, wild-eyed, with swaggering gait, slatternly. Then more, and yet more – motley groups of all ages and conditions of men. (The story of wild Will Enderby, p. 6, nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-PykWild-t1-body-d1-d2.html)
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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-253-035

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Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Lydia Wevers, 'Fiction - The first novels, 1860s and 1870s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/photograph/41912/gold-diggings-clutha-river-1862 (accessed 20 June 2019)

Story by Lydia Wevers, published 22 Oct 2014, updated 19 Aug 2015