Page:Banking Under Difficulties- Or Life On The Goldfields Of Victoria, New South Wales And New Zealand (1888).pdf/107

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98

BANKING UNDER DIFFICULTIES;

98 BANKING UNDER DIFFICULTIES;

on her back, without even drying it, and trotted away. A number of Maories were busy writing letters to send by us to their friends at the " Grey River." I saw one or two of their letters, most creditable productions, both as regards spelling and writing.

The Buller is a large river, wideat theentrance, with waterenough at low tide for vessels drawing from 10 to 12 feet. The first steamer that entered the river was the Tasmanian Maid, on the 29th January, 1862, in command of Captain Whitwell. The boat went in unexpectedly and landed her cargo in the serub, there being no wharf or regular landing place. She took down sixty diggers, which increased the population of the district to 200. 'These were scattered about, some at the diggings known as the "Old Buller," others, at the Waimangaroa. Further south than the Buller was at that time uninhabited, save by a few Maories. Nearly twelve months elapsed before the next steamer, the Wongu Wonga, was sent down under charter by the Provincial Government. The only places of accommodation were the Kawatira Hotel, kept by a man named Martin, and a store kept by Reuben Waite. The * Old Buller" diggings were discovered in 1859, und the Waimangaroa a short time afterwards. In May 1868 the town of Westport waa surveyed, and in October of that year the first sale of town sections was held at Nelson; but so much money having beer: expended by the early settlers on the old township, they, naturally enough, objected to shift and give the high prices asked for building allotments by the lucky owners of them, On the left of the town, some miles up the river, lies Mount Rochfort, on which the hopes of the Westport people to a great extent depend, coal of first-rate quality having been discovered there. The approach to the Mount is bad, and it would cost an enormous sum to construct a railway.

25th October.—Made a start for the 'Grey River" at six p.m. About seven miles from the entrance to the " Buller" are some high rocks, known as the " Steeples." As a rule, vessels go outside of them, although there is an inside passage, which would save @ good many miles; it is seldom used, and only in the finest weather. The Grey is sixty miles south of the Buller. We rau down in eight hours. The tide not being favourable when we arrived, anchored in the homestead until it suited. When the captain (Leech) thought there was sufficient water on the bar, he went to the masthead and piloted his vessel in; this was his first trip; we got in all right. The Grey bar is a shifting one; at one time the run in will be a straight one; at another along way to the north or south, in which case the vessel has to run broadside on the breakers between the sandspit and the beach. The tew people resident at the Grey turned out to meetus; only found one store, kept by Reuben Waite, one of the earliost, if not the earliest, settler on the Coast, who supplied me with the following information as to the rush. I give it in his own words:—