Coromandel History

News 1862 June

4 June 1862 Southern Cross

There is no longer any doubt that Mr Fox's mission to Coromandel has proved a decided failure.  We always anticipated that it would, and are not, therefore, surprised now, but we sincerely regret that negotiations should have terminated in such a manner as to complicate still more the difficulties already existing in the way of a peaceful adjustment of the conflicting claims of the native and European populations.

But there is not much to be gained now by discussing who is and who is not to blame for the unfortunate position in which we now find ourselves.  It behoves us all rather to address ourselves to the serious work before us, and to take counsel together as to what it is best to do under present circumstances.

Not withstanding that the government organ some time back positively declared that it would be the duty of the crown to provide protection for the Maories, it appears, now, that on the failure of the negotiations, Mr Fox informed the Chiefs that in case of the diggers encroaching, they, the Natives, would be left to their own resources.  We have yet to learn whether the Colonial Secretary in declaring this, wished it to be understood that he had ceased to consider the affording of protection a duty, or whether he still considered it so, but held at the same time, that under the circumstances it was a duty which it was not expedient to recognise.  Much depends on this point.  Should the former be the case, he allows by implication that the diggers have a right to go upon the land, and to hold their own there with the strong hand, and further that as it is not the duty of the Government to take cognizance of any act of violence which they may commit in defence of their claims, such acts cannot in the eyes of the Government be unlawful.  If on the other hand Government refuses to act, because to do so would be inexpedient, we find ourselves in a very extraordinary position.  The Government and the people of New Zealand will be stigmatised with conniving at what they believe to be wrong, and with rejoicing at that being done by others which they only wanted the spirit to do themselves.

For our own part we believe that the most honest policy would be to declare that for the sake of the community, Maoris and Europeans alike, Coromandel must be made Government land.  There is no such duty in our opinion incumbent on the Government as that alluded to by the New Zealander, and if there is not, why should there be any pretence and shilly-shallying about the matter, or why should men seek to acquire Coromandel in an indirect manner by availing themselves of the services of comparative strangers in order to benefit by their acts, should these prove successful, whilst they are prepared to throw them overboard, and to repudiate all connection with them as with lawless freebooters, in case of defeat.  We consider rather that is the duty of the Government now to state clearly what may be done and what may not be done, and to point out the course which they themselves are prepared to adopt in reference to diggers and Maoris, rather than to bide their time until circumstances show whether it is advisable or otherwise to encourage Europeans in digging on native land.  We trust with confidence that our contemporary will drop its mysterious and enigmatical tone, and tell us fairly what we are to expect.

We mentioned above that we regard our position in Coromandel as considerably weakened by the result of Mr Fox's mission.  Negotiations seem to have been carried on in profound ignorance of the best manner of dealing with the native race. That Mr Fox, the prime minister of New Zealand, the deus ex machinâ, should have allowed matters to go so far as to elicit the "refusal direct" from the natives, was a great mistake and betrayed a wonderful want of tact on his part.  Had he been at all conversant with the private histories of the men with whom he undertook to negotiate, he would have seen in Te Hira's absence a sufficient indication of the probable result of his mission, indeed he would have concluded with confidence that the natives had arrived at a foregone conclusion, and have abstained in consequence from persisting in a system which he has always deprecated with great warmth, when he suspected others of making use of it, namely, that of teasing the natives to sell.  But as matters stand now, his teasing has actually elicited from them not only a downright refusal, but the suggestion, a pretty cool one when put to a responsible minister, that he had better let them have fire-arms and ammunition, for the purpose, we conclude, of shooting European subjects.

There is no tiding over the present difficulty.  The natives have thrown down the gauntlet, and there is little doubt but that it will be taken up.  And the ministry must remember that though they may pretend to wash their hands of all further responsibility, and though they can in point of fact be only regarded as his Excellency's agents, still they owe him and through him the country at large a duty which they must not shirk.  They must not allow themselves to be carried away by the idea that they may shake the dust of Coromandel from their feet, and allow things there to take their own course, whilst they themselves pack up for Wellington.  If Sir George Grey were here, they might go and talk whenever they liked, but at present they owe it as a duty to us to remain at their post till they are relieved, or at least till Sir George Grey hears how matters stand in Auckland, which we conclude will be a signal for his instantaneous return.  Not that we think that they are likely to do much good by their presence, but they happen to have the keys of the arms' and money chest, and we may probably be in want of both soon.

It is strange how men are altered by circumstances.  Had any soothsayer risen twelve months ago, and told us that within that short period Mr. Fox's views would be so modified, that he would tell natives 'face to face', on the part of the Government, that the latter did not intend to protect them against Europeans, who would have believed him?  Few, if any.  But we have always believed that it would come to this, not exactly in the case of the gentleman we have been speaking of, but with many of the so-called Maori sympathisers.  We considered their glowing periods in defence of Maori rights, and their expressions of tender-hearted sympathy with the race, as so much holiday talk, and as a style of declamation which would be dropped when matters became serious.  And we find now that we were not mistaken.  A disturbance, or even a war, entailing of its very nature gold and increase of population, will be regarded in a very different light from that at Taranaki, and even in the mother country it is more than probable that men will begin to see in the onward progress of the white race, even at the expense of the New Zealand native, an inevitable and necessary consequence of the bringing together of the two races, and possible even a providential arrangement.

7 June 1862 Southern Cross

Of matters Purely provincial we have little to write.  The chief point of interest is the acquisition of Coromandel, which give promise of becoming the richest gold-field extant, when opened to the diggers. On European territory gold bearing quartz reefs have been discovered, but the men who went on to Paul's land, without permission, made considerable sums.  At present nothing hardly is being done.  The gold is known to be there in abundance, and the diggers, to the number of 100 men are patiently waiting the issue of events.  When opened, as we have no doubt it will be, there  will be a considerable rush to Coromandel, in which the diggers have a plentiful supply of wood and water, besides the facility of water carriage and numerous landing places.

7 June 1862 Southern Cross, G. F. Von Tempsky

Sir:-We are all here undergoing a refining process, developing in us that most angelic of all virtues, 'patience'.  From Paul to Peter and from Peter to Paul, our expectations and hopes are constantly shifted, frustrated, and anew resuscitated, first by the occult nature of  Peter's riches, which we may look for, and secondly, by the dazzling and alluring treasures of Paul's which we must "not" look at.  Add thereto the fluctuating nature of government negotiations, of native diplomacy, (based, as we know, on the paradox of gaining time by loosing it), and any charitable institution would be constrained to consider a Coromandel digger a fit subject for its most active sympathy.  If there is consolation in the knowledge that our neighbour suffers quite as much as one's self, (and the malignity of human nature whispers its ay!) then may we content ourselves with the fact, that our governmental agents have been as much and more dragged through the mud of slippery, miry short-cuts and roundabouts in the native circumlocution labyrinth.  Matters stand now, to all appearance, pretty much where they were before.  There is but one man, deeply read in the mysteries of the native heart, who whispers - Despair not, and hope on hope for ever.

The arduous tasks undertaken by Mr Murphy's and Mr Watson's parties, of finding either alluvial or quartz gold leads by deep sinking, are still continuing with unabated vigour.  Such energy deserves and promises success, but it is painful to think that perhaps the same rewards may be got at easier in the higher regions of Paul’s land, where a greater accumulation of strata’s has been piled, year after year, by the flagging impulses of either volcanic or Neptunic agencies.  This is the reason why we, above applied to Peter's riches the adjective "occult".

Our party has been working during these past weeks some of the creeks near the Kapanga settlement, but the heavy nature of the "wash" in these creeks, its depth and size of boulders, has prevented us as yet from finding a payable claim.  In many places even the colour has not been found, which however does not discourage us, as the patchy character of "all" creeks here may bring one happily some day, upon a heavy patch not to be sneezed at.

Shortly after my return from town, I tried the "puddling" capabilities of surface stuff in a gully close behind Mr Ring's mill.  I had five pennyweights of gold bearing quartz specimens and fine gold to 50 or 60 buckets of earth.  That quantity of dirt is about a good dray load, twenty of which may be washed per day in "the smaller" puddling mill; in Victoria "one" pennyweight per load is considered a "rich" yield for puddling purposes.  The unsettled nature, however, of all land leases for mining purposes, prevents me for the present from following up any trial of puddling operations.

In conclusion I may mention that though "patience" is being developed in us to a never heard-of amount, some of our fraternity have backed out from this wholesome and bitter regime, and taking time by the forelock, when whites and blacks are slumbering, when all cats are grey, those impatient brethren of ours go out a mousing on Paul's land.  Great is the astonishment and exasperation of the native watchmen when the early morning's sun shines into deep paddocks wrought by those children of the night.  Alluring as no doubt such adventurous fun and filching may be, I think it is highly impolitic proceeding at this season when nothing is settled amicably, and nothing forcible can be done.  Very untimely results may now take place at any moment.  Only two nights ago a couple of native Charlies found a comfortable evening party of eight, working by candle light.  Their remonstrance were not the least notice taken of by the busy and perseverant pickers.  In rage and despair the Charlies ran for a reinforcement, it arrived, the children of the night had disappeared.  Under the present circumstances, this and the consequences of it, is impossible to prevent.  End the matter, one way or another, at whatever cost to country or government, but at once, for delay, at this particular season is sure to produce disastrous consequences of incalculable extent.

16 June 1862 Southern Cross (in part)

Last Friday night, Messer’s Keven and Woodin returned to Auckland from Coromandel with the view of forming a quartz-crushing company, to assist in working their claim on Keven's Reef.  The richness of Keven's Reef is now so notorious, and it's extent and course so defined, that we need not revert to those points again.  Suffice to say, that the original six claimants and discoverers of the reef, whose names appear in our paper as claimants for the Provincial reward determined to divide their claim of 400 feet into 100 shares, of £50 each, to defray the cost of machinery, retaining 60 shares in their possession.  So soon as it was known in town on Saturday that a company was being formed to work the claim, the liveliest interest was felt and the number of shares open for sale were taken up in a few hours.  There was no puffing or advertising about the matter, and this proves the deep-seated conviction in the public mind of Auckland that the quartz reefs of Coromandel are mines of wealth which it is our duty to develop.  Keven's reef has been taken up by claimants for miles we have been told, along it's line and the claimants only await the arrival of proper crushing machinery to begin active operations.  The first quartz-crushing machinery here will be that ordered by Messrs Keven and Woodin on behalf of the company now being formed.

Messrs. Keven and Woodin's working party are now engaged in building a smithy, tool shop and houses on the flat towards the creek. 

We should state that Mr Turton, R. M. has found it necessary to remove the "darkness' from the mind of the troubled Lydia, by a promise to pay her £100 for  the gold taken away by the diggers!  One would fancy that this was establishing a precedent for payment at a rate that would be found somewhat extravagant if adopted on a large scale.

21 June 1862 Southern Cross (abridged)

Hostilities have not been resumed between Terarau and Mattiu in the North and Sir George Grey, it is said, received a written guarantee from Mattiu that the land in possession of the Government would not be interfered with.  Sir George Grey had no European present at his interview with the chiefs.  Thus the star of the Governor is still in the ascendant; his usual good fortune has attended him, and he will resume his negotiations with the refractory Coromandel natives backed by the prestige of success, which is of so much consequence when aboriginal races are to be dealt with.  Will he succeed in Coromandel?  It is earnestly to be hoped he will.

23 June 1862 Southern Cross

H.M.S. Harrier, 17 guns, Commander Sir Malcolm MacGregor Bart., left Auckland on Friday afternoon for Coromandel, having his Excellency Sir George Grey on board.  The Harrier was piloted by Mr Marks, Commander of H.M. Gunboat 'Caroline', who took her successfully through the Waiheke channel, going out through the middle passage, the latter being a feat never attempted by so large a vessel.  On the way crossing the gulf of Thames, the men were exercised a the Armstrong gun practice, when some excellent firing was made.  On coming up to the Coromandel  entrance, an Armstrong 12-pounder was levelled at a rock distant 2¾ miles, and  although the vessel was under weigh at the time, so true was the aim that the ball fell close beside the object fired at.  This is one of the most extraordinary instances of perfect naval gunnery we have ever heard of and reflects the greatest credit upon the commander and officers of the ship.  The Harrier came to anchor inside the Point, in the harbour of Coromandel, at six o'clock on Friday evening.  The ship's crew were exercised at night quarters, the natives on board testifying their delight in the most extravagant manner.  The booming of the cannon awoke unusual echoes among the wooded gorges and mountain peaks of Coromandel.  The Harrier was got under weigh again at 4am on Saturday morning, to return to Auckland.  After crossing the Thames owing tot he pitchy darkness the passage was made with difficulty and the ship had to be brought close in to the land for that purpose.  A light is urgently needed there, and it could be easily erected.  The increasing traffic with Coromandel will soon compel the erection of lights there and elsewhere on our coasts.  It is not too much to state that a safe and secure passage of the Harrier was owing to the skilful pilotage of Mr Marks.  The Harrier again left for Coromandel on Saturday evening with his Excellency on board.  She is expected to return on Monday evening.

23 June 1862 Southern Cross, extract

And now a word about Sir George Grey.  His Excellency has done what his Ministers failed to do at Coromandel, besides teaching them a lesson in regard to native matters which it was necessary the Hon. Wm. Fox and his colleagues should learn.  The "face to face" policy of the Responsibles proved a decided failure, the old women gammoned the Colonial Secretary, and the men treated his bounce about withdrawing protection, and the seductive exhibition of edibles, with something approaching to contempt.  Of course the withdrawal of protection statement was contradicted "on authority", which simply means that the Colonial Secretary never meant it for publication, and not that the threat had not been made by him.  Well, how did it fare with the Governor?

On learning of their failure, which he must have anticipated, he comes up from Wellington as fast as H.M.S. 'Harrier' can bring him, and without ceremony or display, without, "three linguists" and his honor the Superintendent as an assistant staff , he had a talk with certain of the high contracting parties at Pokotea, and although Lydia and John Hobbs seemed at first inclined to repeat the humbug practised by them on Mr Fox and the Superintendent, his Excellency soon taught them the broad distinction to be drawn between persons and things, and  had the satisfaction of seeing John Hobbs fall down and weep repentant tears, exclaiming in the accents of a new-made penitent, "O Governor! I renounce the land.  I yield it all to you: do what you will with it!" And Lydia (melting spectacle) plunged into the water, breast high, exclaiming , "O Governor! Do no go away with a dark heart:  I too renounce the land!" But his Excellency did go away with a dark heart,  and a gloomy countenance, leaving the impression that he was justly offended, as in truth he must have been, when all his efforts on behalf of these people are brought to mind.  On his return to Auckland he did not employ any of the "linguists" on his staff to write apologetic letters in the New Zealander, neither did he fold his hands in official helplessness after the example of his Ministers.  The state of affairs in the North was not agreeable, and he only remained a day in Auckland before proceeding to the Ngapuhi battleground.  To be sure, the Responsibles had laughed at the existence of a small native war near a European settlement, and close to the block taken up for the Nonconformist special settlers, but Sir George Grey took a different view of the matter, of which so little had been make, personally by Ministers, and also by the Wellington Independent, and other mouthpieces of Mr Fox.  He at once saw the adverse effect this quarrel would have upon the colony, and exerted himself successfully to pacify the contending parties.  Having done so, he returned to Auckland, for a few hours, and again set out for Coromandel, rightly imagining that the recollection of his wrathful countenance would have worked wonders in the meantime.  And so it was.  His Excellency's interpreter found the natives ready to accept the liberal terms offered by the Governor, and he very properly adopted the concessions of the native owners, without making much account of Te Hira, who will be sure to come in to the arrangement when he finds there is nothing better to be done.  As his Excellency is now in Coromandel, we may hope to be able to announce the matter as finally settled on Tuesday.  Meanwhile, the Government decline giving any direct answer to the deputation from the meeting that waited on them on Friday, in regard to Keven's reef.  So, after all, the Responsibles will not share in eclat of opening Coromandel, and the public will have to thank Sir George Grey as the sole agent in doing that which will make Auckland the first colony in the South Pacific.

24 June 1862 Southern Cross

We have been requested to make the subjoined statement by Mr Bleazard, whose claim for the Provincial reward of £2000, for the discovery of a gold-field in this province, appears in our paper of today, and for this reason.

On the appearance of the advertisement in yesterdays paper, a gentleman met Mr Bleazard, and told him that he was not entitled to the reward personally, as he had been the agent of a number of gentlemen in Auckland who subscribed their money, and sent him down in charge of a party to prospect in Coromandel, and that therefore the claim for the reward ought to go be lodged on behalf of the subscribers, at the same time alleging that he (Mr Bleazard) had reported to the subscribers that Coromandel was of no account as a gold field.

Mr Bleazard's explanation of the matter is this. About seven years ago, a number of gentlemen in Auckland subscribed a certain sum of money, to pay the expense of a prospecting party in Coromandel.  Mr Bleazard had charge of this party of seven men, and remained with them in Coromandel for about three months, at his own charge, while giving his time for nothing.  On his return to Auckland, he gave a written report to the treasurer, Captain Salmon, the purport of which was that Coromandel would in all likelihood prove a good quartz reefing country, but would never be worth for alluvial diggings.  To that opinion he still adheres.  But to continue, a few months after his return from Coromandel, Mr Bleazard went to Victoria, where he had additional experience in quartz reefing and after his return to Auckland five years ago, he again visited Coromandel, on his own individual responsibility and on that occasion discovered the auriferous reef on which he founds his claim for the Provincial reward of £2000.  It will be seen, therefore that the charge made against Mr Bleazard of lodging a claim on his own account, instead of a joint claim is not a just one, and that statement ought not therefore to be circulated.

25 June 1862 Southern Cross, Gazette notice

Among the appointments, Henry Hanson Turton, Esq., appointed Coroner for the district of Coromandel. 

26 June 1862 Southern Cross, Shipping

Inwards, Coastwise
'Fly', 17 tons, Wallace, from Coromandel, with 250 bushels wheat and 70 do. Corn.
Outwards, Coastwise 'Sylph, 73 tons, G. S. Norris, for Coromandel, with ½ ton sugar, 10 cases of gin, 2 boxes of gin, 2 do candles, 20 pkgs luggage, and 30 male European passengers. Webster and Patterson, agents.
The cutter 'Bessy', Mr Edwards, master, sailed for Coromandel yesterday morning with 50 passengers on board.  This was the first shipment since Sir George Grey successfully opened Coromandel.
The stream of prospecting diggers is setting in towards Coromandel.  In addition to the Bessy which sailed with 50 persons yesterday, the schooner Sylph has been laid on and yesterday 30 passengers were taken up.  She sails today.  The 'Mary Ira', schooner, will also sail today at 11 am., the cutter 'Rose' at 4 pm., the cutter 'Annie Laurie', and the yacht 'Gleam', if sufficient inducement offers.
The 'Wildfire' , is to take the prospecting party, under Mr Chisholm, to Mercury Bay.
(Note regarding the 'Annie Laurie,'  she was offered for sale at Dunedin in February 1862 and the description of her is as follows:- She is most powerfully built of the best Pohtiku and Kauri, coppered and copper fastened, 24 tons register, carries 40 tons dead weight, drawing only six feet of water. It is well to mention that she was built by Nicholl, celebrated for building the 'Albatross,' 'Pacific' and 'Atlantic.'

28 June 1862 Southern Cross, G. F. V. Tempsky

Sir:- We have the best news.  Rumour says that "the land" (we know but one now worth calling so) is bought and paid for.   You repeated disappointments have made us so suspicious of allowing hope its full fling, that no very particular enthusiasm is displayed.  The latter will revive, however, when official announcement clinches the fact.

The claims in the creek in which the first heavy find was got at, will be partitioned out, according to numbers drawn some time back in a lottery.  This arrangement was subscribed to by the majority of diggers then on the ground, for the sake of preventing disorder in the first rush.  In fact the country can congratulate itself on the general character of the pioneer diggers of Coromandel.  A manly spirit of self-command and proprietous self-rule pervades the great majority.  It would be indeed a lasting stain on our character if we were to have an undignified scramble for the gold the Maories have now thrown amongst the whites.  Fancy them looking on disdainfully when the pakehas are pitching into one another for Maori leavings.

We are all sorry to see that the "Keven's reef company" is already in the midst of misunderstandings.  A first attempt of that kind proving a failure, or something very near it, is always sure to throw an unfavourable light on such undertakings in general.  Yet as the latter will probably be soon the all-engrossing business of Auckland, the sooner people get an idea how such things are managed the better.  In California and Australia, when a reef is truck it is customary to crush at least "six tons" of stone to arrive at an average of the yield, for it is considered that quartz crushed in small quantities can give no criteria as to the general yield, for even six tons have resulted in erroneous estimates, in the form of either an over or under valuation.  In places where no previously established crushing mills give facility for making experiments with tons weights, and where people are therefore unwilling to go to the expense of setting up a crushing mill merely for a trial, a very inexpensive species of machinery is resorted to.  It is constructed as follows:-

A circular bottom of hard stone is laid as even and as horizontally as possible, diameter from 8 to 10 feet, a rim of stone 2 feet high encircles this bottom, a perpendicular post (with stone drum pedestal) in the center, with pivot on the top, supports a horizontal beam, to both arms of this beam are attached, the chains, two heavy stones, flat on the bottom, resting evenly with their whole weight on the floor, a horse, or any other handy locomotive power turns the beam, the stones are dragged by the chains and go round the floor crushing whatever is small enough to crush.  The quartz of course is well roasted and broken up, and thus with comparatively little loss of time, several tons can be crushed.  After pulverising and amalgamating six tons, a fair average of the yield is struck.  Any other estimate of yield is too hazardous a proceeding to rest the employment of capital upon.  A trial of smaller quantities may give encouragement to prospectors, but neither the good nor bad results of pound weights crushings should be made the basis for a heavy outlay, nor an unfavourable verdict on a reef.--I am &c. G. F. V. Tempsky, Kapanga June 25th 1862

28 June 1862 Southern Cross, extract

We may here mention that Sir George Grey experienced some difficulty in arranging term with the natives, from the fact that they had been in the receipt of £1 per day per man from five diggers, who thus acquired a right to work on Paul's land.  Two of these men were pointed out to his Excellency.  The simple fact shows the immense richness of  Paul's land.  After the natives had consented to accept Sir George Grey's terms, they brought a mat, and laid it at his feet, in token of handing over to him the territory.  This was the identical mat which the Waikatos had sent down to the Coromandel natives, signifying their right to that territory, by virtue of the act of Te Hira and the Thames natives, handing it over to them at the great Piako meeting.  His Excellency had the mat brought with him to Auckland.

30 June 1862, Southern Cross from H. Hanson Turton, R.M.

Sir.  I wish to announce to all persons about to proceed hither from Auckland, for the purpose of gold digging, that no Miner's Rights can be issued until all arrangements by the government are completed, and that without being possessed of such a "Right", no party will be allowed to dig on Paul's land.

Therefore, to save disappointment, it will be as well for no one to come down with that expectation during the present week at least.  And when they do come they should be provided with tools, and provisions for ten days. I am &c. H. Hanson Turton R.M. dated Kapanga, June 24th 1862

30 June 1862, Southern Cross, Letter to the Editor

Sir,  Great anxiety is expressed here by many of the diggers for the arrival of the Governor, to settle definitely about the working of Paul's land.  Lydia and her party at Koputauaki, are willing to allow it to be worked, but Te Hira and Taraia, since the meeting that they had with Waikato, are I fear, not disposed to consent for the land to be worked.  Should the present negotiations fail, the diggers will have to turn their attention to the gold bearing reefs, which are numerous and rich in this district, and are generally on land that can be worked without the interference of natives.  There are three reefs clearly traceable, which run from the upper range through the harbour, and which have been examined and found to contain from 6 to 10 ounces of gold per ton, and about double that quantity of silver.  The first of these, which is the one on the eastern side, commences at Pokatia (Paul's reef), and runs due south to the spot near Sykes's house, where Mr Keven sunk his shaft.  It then passes through Paget's land, runs through the native cultivation near the chapel at Kapanga, dips and re-appears on the beach on the northern side of Mr Preece's land, crosses the neck, again dips and re-appears on native land in the direction of Manaia.    Three claims have already been marked out and registered on this reef.  On Mr Preece's land gold has been found in the quartz, which can in some pieces be seen with the naked eye, in others where no gold could be seen  it has been found when the quartz has been crushed, and is a very fine quality.

The second reef commences a little north of Pokatia, and runs through Murphy's claim, passes through some hills at the back of the Kapanga settlement, dips, and then re-appears on Mr Preece's land, a few chains west of the first reef, it then dips and re-appears on native land, and runs towards Mania.

The third reef commences on the same ridge a little to the northward of the last, runs through Paul's land and the village of Belleville, through north Wynyardton and then through the government land at Kapanga, where Keven has his claim.  It then dips and appears again on Mr Preece's land runs through part of the Bishop's land where Watson has a drive.  It then dips, and reappears on Mr G. Graham's land, and runs in the direction of Manaia.  Mr Watson has ascertained that these reefs will give a return of at least 10½ ozs of gold per ton, and there is an endless supply of quartz.  Although the three reefs are clearly traceable on Mr Preece's point, the whole space is one mass of quartz.  It is to be hoped that some spirited company will be formed without delay, as it must become a capital investment.  Every encouragement will, I hear, be given to parties to do so.  Should sufficient encouragement be given the proprietor of the flat near Watson's shaft will lay out a township there at once.  It is the only place in the harbour really fit for a town, being only a few chains from deep water, and a good firm road can be made, and besides it is in the centre between both Paul's and the Waiau diggings.  It also lies between the mines on the different reefs, and consists of dry and excellent land, it is also sufficiently extensive for a large population to be located there.  A government road has been laid out  through the center of it.

Whether Paul's land is opened or not the diggings will now progress.  I believe that before long gold will be found in payable quantities in every gully, but I have been of the opinion for some time past, that the permanent diggings will be reefing.  The reefs seem to have retained the greatest portion of the gold, and only discharges the very fine  in patches.  The nature of the diggings differs from that of any other gold district in this respect except Nova Scotia, that the payable gold is found on the beach at Mr Preece's Point, near the three reefs, as far down as half-tide.  In no other gold-field except that recently discovered on the western seaboard of North America is gold found on the beach.  The working of the reefs will not be a speculation, but a sure investment. I am, sir, yours truly A. R.  Coromandel June 19th 1862

30 June 1862 Southern Cross, Proclamation Gold field, Coromandel 

Sir,  Great anxiety is expressed here by many of the diggers for the arrival of the Governor, to settle definitely about the working of Paul's land.  Lydia and her party at Koputauaki, are willing to allow it to be worked, but Te Hira and Taraia, since the meeting that they had with Waikato, are I fear, not disposed to consent for the land to be worked.  Should the present negotiations fail, the diggers will have to turn their attention to the gold bearing reefs, which are numerous and rich in this district, and are generally on land that can be worked without the interference of natives.  There are three reefs clearly traceable, which run from the upper range through the harbour, and which have been examined and found to contain from 6 to 10 ounces of gold per ton, and about double that quantity of silver.  The first of these, which is the one on the eastern side, commences at Pokatia (Paul's reef), and runs due south to the spot near Sykes's house, where Mr Keven sunk his shaft.  It then passes through Paget's land, runs through the native cultivation near the chapel at Kapanga, dips and re-appears on the beach on the northern side of Mr Preece's land, crosses the neck, again dips and re-appears on native land in the direction of Manaia.    Three claims have already been marked out and registered on this reef.  On Mr Preece's land gold has been found in the quartz, which can in some pieces be seen with the naked eye, in others where no gold could be seen  it has been found when the quartz has been crushed, and is a very fine quality.

                The second reef commences a little north of Pokatia, and runs through Murphy's claim, passes through some hills at the back of the Kapanga settlement, dips, and then re-appears on Mr Preece's land, a few chains west of the first reef, it then dips and re-appears on native land, and runs towards Mania.

                The third reef commences on the same ridge a little to the northward of the last, runs through Paul's land and the village of Belleville, through north Wynyardton and then through the government land at Kapanga, where Keven has his claim.  It then dips and appears again on Mr Preece's land runs through part of the Bishop's land where Watson has a drive.  It then dips, and reappears on Mr G. Graham's land, and runs in the direction of Manaia.  Mr Watson has ascertained that these reefs will give a return of at least 10½ ozs of gold per ton, and there is an endless supply of quartz.  Although the three reefs are clearly traceable on Mr Preece's point, the whole space is one mass of quartz.  It is to be hoped that some spirited company will be formed without delay, as it must become a capital investment.  Every encouragement will, I hear, be given to parties to do so.  Should sufficient encouragement be given the proprietor of the flat near Watson's shaft will lay out a township there at once.  It is the only place in the harbour really fit for a town, being only a few chains from deep water, and a good firm road can be made, and besides it is in the centre between both Paul's and the Waiau diggings.  It also lies between the mines on the different reefs, and consists of dry and excellent land, it is also sufficiently extensive for a large population to be located there.  A government road has been laid out  through the center of it.

                Whether Paul's land is opened or not the diggings will now progress.  I believe that before long gold will be found in payable

 

e prox.�.t.e.�ς.h��.om enough for 50,000 diggers on the flat for many years to come.

On Wednesday I visited "Keven's Reef," and the Kapanga diggings.  The day was drenching wet, and I found most of the diggers in their tents. Above the Messrs. Ring's mill there is now a little town of tents, among which is a store.  The fame of the "finds" on  Paul's land attracted the owners of these tents to this spot, and from the facts communicated to me, the voice of rumour has not greatly exaggerated the truth.  But, inasmuch as the Hon. Colonial Secretary, Mr Fox, is in Coromandel, endeavouring to bring the natives to some kind of terms for  working the auriferous but forbidden soil, I will not in any way impede his freedom of action by publishing statements which would inevitably precipitate a rush.  The news will keep for a few days, and in a very short time the result of Mr Fox's exertions will be known.

I visited Mr Murphy's party.  They were in good spirits, although their wooden hut had been burned to the ground the previous day, destroying almost everything they possessed.  Fortunately some diggers were near the place, and saved a few articles, or they would have been burnt out completely.  As it was their loss has been considerable : Mr Murphy has had the title deeds to a property in another colony consumed.  From this party I learned that they had tunnelled 60 feet farther into the hill than at the date of my former visit, and sunk three shafts, depth of 40 feet, and it was driven a considerable distance.  Finding that they could not strike the reef, and that they suffered from foul air, they sunk the fifth shaft; but as it was on Paul's land the natives on last Saturday caused them to remove their windlass and fly and give over working there.  Mr Murphy intends sinking the third shaft near the boundary, 100 feet deep, and then driving, and if the reef is not struck, so as to thoroughly test it, he will go elsewhere in the vicinity, for he is convinced of the golden wealth of Coromandel.  It is a promising prospect that has been got in the last hole, and the party regret being put to the trouble of tunnelling through  the hill.  There has been a little gold found, but the statement in the Aucklander of Monday, that 130 ounces of gold had been obtained by Mr Murphy's party, in one bucketful of stuff, is wholly imaginative.  There is no foundation whatever for the statement.

As I already stated, parties have made incursions on Paul's land, not without profit; but this is illegal, and such produce should not be reported.  But gold is known to many now in Coromandel  to exist in large quantities; not a few have obtained it in plenty, and it is contrary to all human experience to suppose that such a district should be allowed to remain locked up to please about thirty souls, who have hundreds of thousands of acres elsewhere, and who will never make any profitable use of any part of them.  But this I may mention, that Mr Moriarty has discovered a rich quartz reef running through the lands of the two chiefs, Paul and Peter.  It is richer in Paul's (or is supposed to be richer), and it might not be amiss, if the natives will neither sell, lease, nor accept a license fee for permission to work Paul's ground, for Mr Moriarty to sink a shaft on the exact boundary, and thus test the gold-bearing nature of the stone as near the El Dorado as may be done with impunity.  This is merely a suggestion for the parties concerned, acting on which would, in all likelihood, prove beneficial, by showing how Peter derived a revenue from his land, from participation in which the other owners deprived themselves by their stubborn selfishness.

But perhaps the most important fact in relation to the Coromandel gold fields is the discovery of a gold bearing quartz reef on government land, and which has been distinctly traced for four miles on our own territory, before it passes due north into Paul's land.  Mr Keven, of Auckland, from former experiments, was of opinion that a quartz reef of a gold bearing nature would be found in the low range terminating in Kapanga point, close to the creek of that name, and nearly opposite Mr Beeson's.  Accordingly, accompanied by Mr Wooden, and a party of miners, he went down to Coromandel, and pointed out the place.  For a fortnight the country was carefully prospected, and the discovery was made, that the quartz reef first detected by Mr Keven ran due north and south, dipping below the sea level at Kapanga flat, and re-appearing in the little Island terminal of Preece's point, where its existence was practically demonstrated.  On the north it was traced in a line over European land, through the Wynyardton township and Bellville, and on to Paul's land at a distance of not over 400 yards from where Messrs. Murphy's party ware working.  50 feet from the crown of the hill the spur was discovered, and 30 feet below the point where the reef was detected cropping out, a tunnel has been driven into the range by two men who began their work on Thursday week.  The tunnel is now about 10 feet.  When six feet in a leader was struck, dipping to the eastward and at the end of the next foot of tunnelling the quartz became more plentiful.  A small portion, about ½-lb weight was crushed in Mr Keven's mill, and yielded a number of small specs of gold.  Thus at first, the gold bearing nature of the quartz was proved, and the party decided to name it "Keven's Reef."

On Wednesday, when I arrived in company with another gentleman, one of the miners was busy endeavouring to displace a block of quartz in the bottom of the drive, and broke off a considerable piece, which he further reduced with his pick.  On examination gold was distinctly visible to the naked eye.  One specimen especially was very good; and on submitting the pieces to a magnifier, the percentage of gold was seen to be very considerable.  Before I left the Kapanga I was told that subsequent operations only more decidedly proved the richness of the reef.  In addition to this the same party (Messer’s Keven and Wooden) has discovered a gold bearing quartz reef in Peter's land.  A shaft 35 feet deep was also sunk last week by two of their party on a little elevation above the creek near Mr Paget's.  This has been closed for the present, and the efforts of the party will be concentrated elsewhere.

The Hon. Mr Fox, attended by Mr C. O. Davis, native interpreter, and Mr Turton, R. M., the commissioner, has held several meetings with the natives, but they refuse to sell. A messenger has been sent up the Thames for Manai, and on his arrival the matter will be finally settled.  His honor the Superintendent is with the Colonial Secretary in Coromandel.  The more experienced diggers intimate their intention of remaining.

20 May 1862 Southern Cross

On Saturday H.M.S. gunboat 'Caroline,' Marks, master, arrived in this harbour from Coromandel, having on board the Hon. Colonial Secretary, and his honor the Superintendent.  They have not been able to come to any terms with the natives regarding the acquisition of Paul's land; but from the tenor of the latest conversation they had with the natives, there is reason to hope that a lease of the land may be secured. We have been informed that Mr Fox will return on Friday next, when he hopes to meet the chiefs Taraia and Te Hiri for whom the 'Gleam,' in charge of Mr Beeson, had been sent up the Thames.  We sincerely hope that Mr Fox may be successful.  He has already offered rather beyond what he prudently ought to have proposed, namely, to pay a license fee of 10s per man for a month, to allow the diggers to go freely on the land.  The result of this would be the demonstration of the almost fabulous richness of the soil, and should the Maoris refuse to extend the permission beyond the month, the Government would find it difficult to remove the diggers, as in fairness they would be bound to do.  Let us have it by lease or purchase, or let us have it permanently opened by payment of a digger's license; but let us not further embroil matters by creating fresh difficulties from a temporary arrangement.

The news from Coromandel by the 'Thames,' Captain Farrell, on Monday, was to the effect that the diggers were taking slips on the forbidden ground, and making "by moonlight," far more than wages.  There is every prospect of this turning out one of the richest gold-fields on record if the diggers are permitted to work freely where they please.  Those who had a fortnight's prospecting on the creeks, made pretty heavy piles; and more than one of them have stated to us that there was permanent work for hundreds in the creeks without touching the reefs.  As a consequence of the washing being done at night, much of the smaller specimens are lost.

The operations at No.1 quartz company, Matawa, are proceeding steadily.  Several fine specimens are still in Mr Turner's possession, which his party took from the creek near their drive for the reef.  The deep sinkers are at a stand-still at present.  Murphy's party are repairing their losses from the late fire; and the miners at Keven's reef are working steadily.  Quartz crushing machinery has been ordered on account of this latter company.

We hope soon to be in a position to announce the opening of the entire peninsula.  Whether the government to it or not, the communications now being made from the diggers tot heir friends in Australia and Otago will settle the question in a few months.  There are only "thirty men, six old women, and four children" having a claim to this large territory; and it is out of the question to think that the progress of a country would be permanently retarded to please them, seeing that they will not make any use of the district themselves.  They are neither producers nor consumers, but drag out a wretched existence in the most indolent and filthy manner.  Let them be paid for their land, at a liberal rate, but let it be opened at all hazards.

When on this subject, we would suggest the licensing of some house on the main land. It would put an end to the illicit traffic in spirits now carried on, an be a boon to visitors and residents.

21 May 1862 Southern Cross

Kapanga Assault:- At the Kapanga diggings a man named John Anderson, who was one of the party so successful on Paul's land, committed an unprovoked assault on a fellow digger named Moriarty, who was at the time taking his dinner in his tent.  Moriarty, although much the more powerful man instead of taking the law into his own hands, lodged a complaint with Mr Turton, R. M. who committed Anderson to jail for one month.  He was brought up to Auckland in the 'Thames' last Monday, in charge of police constable Hastings, and lodged in jail.  Anderson had been drinking for some time in Auckland, on the proceeds of his gold, and doubtless his conduct may in part be traced to this cause.

24 May 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent

I am sorry to say that O'Hara's party has been broken up in consequence of the disagreements I mentioned in my last.  I consider that it will be a great loss to the province at large, as they were a set of experienced diggers.  Farmer's party are hard at work, but it will take weeks, if not months, before any good results can be obtained.  Watson has enlarged his party, and will recommence the shaft today.  Should they strike gold at once, we shall at once have alluvial diggings of some extent.  Murphy’s' party and others at Mr Ring's are hard at work.  Wooden, Otto, and Keven are about to work a reef on Government land at Kapanga, in which they have found gold.  The same reef crops out on Mr Preece's land, it then crosses the harbour and runs up the coast for miles, and is no doubt very rich.

The greater part of the diggers are now congregated at Mr Ring's, to see what the present negotiations of the Government will do to throw open Paul's land.  The Government have done all in their power, but I fear in vain.  The medium between them and the natives (Mr C. O. Davis) is not to be trusted.  When Mr Fox assembled the natives at Kapanga on Saturday, the 10th, the natives told C. O. D. that he had locked the box, and now he wished it to appear that it was his desire to open it.  From this we may judge that he has a hidden meaning in what he says.  Mr Davis wrote a letter to the Thames natives a few days ago, in which he says, "The fish that is in the sea, if allowed to land, will make a shag's stinking house."  Now, the meaning which he intends to convey by that figure is soon caught by the natives, which is this :- "Do not open your land, or you will lose it, for, as when a flock of shags take possession of a rock, all land-birds leave it, as they cannot endure the stench."

I believe that nothing but a good rush, or the allowance of the direct purchase, will now accomplish the object.

24 May 1862 Southern Cross, Extract of private letter

"Messer’s. Fox and Williamson have been here lately, but for all the good they have accomplished, so far as I can gather, they might just as well have stopped away.  Mr Fox's voice may be 'sweet,' but the Maoris do not appear to be inclined to listen to the voice of the charmer.  The solution of the difficulty appears to me to be farther off than ever.  The natives seem to have an idea that the pakehas are getting gold, by a process which they term robbery.  They are not far wrong in conjecturing that Paul's country is auriferous.  Three nights ago, a man went by moonlight and got a sack of dirt, from which he took 1½ lbs of gold.  In proportion as the natives see the government eager to obtain possession of the land, they will not part with it, and the general opinion here is that they will never give it up peaceably.  If the land is thrown open, there will, no doubt, be a tremendous rush, and those who are on the ground, and have made preparations for it, will reap the benefits, and golden ones too.

24 May 1862 Southern Cross

From Coromandel we have news of the failure of the Government negotiations for purchasing or leasing the native territory.  The 'Caroline' gunboat returned yesterday evening with the Hon. Colonial Secretary on board from his fruitless mission.

A meeting was held, we have been informed, last Wednesday, at which Mr Fox told the natives that he was willing to keep any promise the Government had made, and purchase the land or lease it from them on the terms to be agreed on.  The offer of £10,000 was renewed, and rejected.  The natives expressed themselves willing to lease provided they were supplied with arms and ammunition.  To this cool proposal the Colonial Secretary replied that in the use of firearms and ammunition no exception could be made in their favour that as Europeans were prohibited the use of arms, so must the natives.  Thereupon the affair  was off.  They would not lease on any other  terms, and stood upon their tribal right to do nothing at all with the land.

The natives were given to understand that this was the last proposal  the Government would make for purchasing or leasing the district, and were further informed that in case of a "rush" they would not be protected from the encroachments of the diggers.  Owing to the bad advice which the natives have received for years past, however, they pay no attention to what the gentlemen who conduct the affairs of this colony advise them to do for their own good.  What the result of all this may be we do not know, at present we do know that one of the richest gold districts in the world is closed because a few aboriginal natives refuse either to sell or lease, although unheard of sums of money, in similar cases are offered for their acceptance by the Government.  They fail to discharge, or become liable to the discharge of any of the duties of landed proprietors, nay, even of occupiers, and yet claim the most extended privileges, and are or are not British subjects as it suits their own immediate interests.

There was a plentiful distribution of flour, sugar and tobacco to the natives who have shown a disposition to meet the views of the government.  These recipients of public rations expressed regret that Paul's land was not opened, and deplored that it was not in their power to influence their refractory brethren.  It may be that the Maori values a musket at this day as a more precious treasure than a thousand acres, for in no other light can we view their demand, seeing that there are only thirty men to be armed, and that the reserved block is 70,000 acres.

On Friday night last a native runanga was held, at which Mr C. O. Davis attended, and after much speech-making, one object of which, we have been told, was to get a certificate of character from the Maories on behalf of Mr Davis to be used against the Printers and Publishers of the Daily Southern Cross, in the threatened action for libel, an unjust charge was also made against a British resident there in connexion with the matter, for the consequences of which we hope Mr Davis will be held responsible.  We ask the government are these the services for which they are paying Mr C. O. Davis £300 a year?  It was stated that Coromandel would be obtained if this gentleman was again taken into the Government service, that he was all-powerful with the natives and such like expressions, but the sequel has proved otherwise, and we suppose, for state purposes, the Government will continue to pay him his salary while he goes about ferreting evidence in a libel action against this journal.

But we have not done with this matter.  Mr Davis has thrown down the gauntlet, we accept his challenge and we are determined not to let the subject be talked to death in a hole-and-corner Maori runanga, where any statement may be made to the detriment of private character without affording the accused an opportunity of replying.

29 May 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (written 29-31st May)

Kapanga Diggings:- Some excitement has latterly invaded our quiet neighbourhood; first, a rumour of a find of 53 ounces floated about as successful and unsuccessful bait for the credulous and incredulous.  Scarcely, however, had this first effect subsided, when a report, based upon strong circumstantial evidence, of a find of 83 ounces, set our digging community all agog. What enhanced doubly the charm of mystery in this matter, was the fact that this find had been come at on "forbidden ground," from across the boundary, guarded as yet successfully by the wrathful spirit of a departed native chief.

The accumulated suspicion point at three men, working here by themselves, who, however, stoutly disclaim any complicity with this stroke of luck.  Unfortunately for them, that compound of unheard-of-credulity and incredulity, termed minographically "digger," has now turned its incredulous side against all asseverations of these men; and, right or wrong, the fame of the find sticks to them.

Although in this latitude the "grano salis" wherewith reports should be taken and swallowed elsewhere, has here to be increased to a bushel of saline alterative (as a fair equipoise to the bushels of lies constantly in the market) yet there remains now no doubt that 83 ounces of gold-bearing quartz specimens have been found here, on Paul's land, and by the same mysterious party of No.3.

This first luscious bite out of the forbidden apple, made of course, many a mouth water.  Four new tents appeared here as by magic agency, one fine day; and some prowling and scowling was instantly instigated.  The new-comers complain, however, as yet of bad luck; whereas I don't wonder, as the nature of that creek is essentially "patchy;" seeing that at "each freshet," (particularly one laden with timber) the entire surface of the creek is changed, and carried about by the water power, in some instances sweeping the creek to the very bed rock.

What the effect of a few more finds like this will be on the public, is hard to define in its extent; equally so the exasperation of the natives, should information reach them.  It is a great pity that by this time arrangements more favourable to enterprise have not been made by the government; delay will only complicate and endanger any safe solution of this vexed question.  At any moment a general rush from the adjacent colonies may take place, and what are the preparations of the authorities to meet at once such an emergency?

If soft words won't do to treat with Lydia, try hard cash : golden showers have before now wrought wonders on ladies of quite as classical a name.  The enchantress must be made to yield up the golden key of Coromandel before "the crowd" comes and thunders at the gate.  And it needs but a glance at that forbidden ground, to see the promise " of wealth shut up there;"  the creek where the mysterious three are working is literally "seamed" with spurs of quartz reefs.  So that even if the digger should fail to find there an extraordinary El Dorado, the quartz reefer will meet there with stone such as has been little seen before.

 

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