The History of Addison's Flat Gold Fields

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The History of Addison's Flat Gold Fields (1923)
by Daniel Laurence Moloney
Daniel Laurence Moloney4116543The History of Addison's Flat Gold Fields1923Addisons·Flat•Moloney•1923•Cover.jpg

The History of


Compiled from Information received from the Old Identities of the Diggings, together with a Survey of the many incidents of note which have happened up to the Present Day.



Price: Threepence.

Printed at the “Westport News” Office, Westport.

Of The
Addison’s Flat Goldfields.

(By Dan. Moloney, Westport).

Hark! What sound is that I hear,
Ringing so plainly on the ear?
“Tis the march; tis the march of the bold pioneer,
In search of that Golden Land.”

It was on May 18th, 1867, that the word was sent flashing through the New Zealand telegraph wires, that a rich find of gold was discovered out on the flats on the West Coast and about eight miles on the south side of Westport.

The party of men who found the first gold numbered three or four, and the principal one was a nigger by the name of Addison. This small party was sinking a prospecting shaft near the foot of the hill, just behind where the schoolmaster’s house stands at present.

When the find was made known, then miners from the Hokitika, Grey, Otago, Nelson, and Australian gold fields came long in hundreds to try their luck in the new fields for fortunes. The place was immediately named Addison’s Flat, after the discoverer, although the Maori name for that township was Whenua-Pakura, which means red earth. The reason for the Maor’s calling it by that name is because of the red cement that is so plentiful out there.


The great rush took place about the latter end of May, and the first diggings started on the Westport side of Dirty Mary’s Creek.

Within a few weeks, there was population in Addison’s of about 6,000 and for weeks the whole of the flat from Bald Hill on the north, to the Giant’s Grave on the south, was nothing but a city of canvas tents, and the place a living mass of miners with a pick, shovel and dish, fossicking all day long for the gold that was somewhat plentiful on the surface in that year. The white moleskin pants and red flannel shirt and scarf instead of a pair of braces, was the digger’s uniform. A fine stamp of men they were, similar to those of whom Bracken has written:

The digger’s shirt was freedom’s badge
Beneath it, Honor’s glow
Lit up a generous manly heart
In dear old Bendigo.

I have in my possession an old New Zealand geography book that was printed in London in 1869. When the book was first put in the printing press in England in that year, the return of the population of Addison’s was not to hand, but it gives a record of other towns in the Nelson district and the population was as follows: Nelson, 5,652; Westport 1,500; Charleston 2,255 Brighton 1,203 and Cobden 727.


Within a few weeks of the rush, as per usual, like other gold fields, hotels were set up, about the flat. They were called shanties in those days on the diggings, and I am informed that at Addison’s there were about forty licensed to retail spirituous liquors. On the top of that it must be borne in mind, that a large number of stores were opened and in every store a bottle of grog was always kept behind the counter, and the price of a drink in those days was 1/- a nip. It was nothing to see the Warden and a couple of lawyers pulling up their horses in front of a store, going in, and having a nobbler of case spirits or a glass of porter.


The first girl child born in Addison’s was Mary O’Riely, a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs James O’Riely, who, after leaving Adddison’s, kept a public house for many years in Hawera. The first boy born was Frank Dennehy, and Frank first saw the light in a calico tent at a place called the Red Hill, near Sullivan’s Hotel.


Alex McRea, the last shoemaker to leave Addison’s to take up his residence in Reefton, informed me that he took a stroll about the flat one Sunday afternoon in 1898, and counted 22 snob shops, each cobbler hard at work repairing the souls of the people and making heavy boots for the miners.


After the surface gold was procured. the miners sank shafts for the black sand golds, which was from 20 to 40 feet in depth, and the bottom was on a blue reef pug, and the depth of sand on the reef was from 3 to 9 feet in thickness.


When the miners realised the value of their mining claims, they began to bring in head races of water from Mountain Creek and the Totara river, to work the land. Parties of six and eight men then pegged out claims and worked them for many years. The old system of working was a slow one, as every stone or boulder had to be man-handled, with no machinery of any kind to help them. Dynamite was used to burst the very heavy stones that could not be shifted.


The miners that paddocked the gold at the Flat worked it in what they called “Leads,” that is to say, the seams of gold run along the flat at a depth of 15 to 30 feet and those leads of gold travelled for miles, running north-west to south-east, and there were four main leads, which, in the dark ages, were formed by marine action, and the leads were some hundreds of yards apart.

Each lead had a name, and were known as follows: Wilson’s, Gallagher’s, O’Toole’s, Virgin Flat, and the Addison’s lead. At present, all the deep sinking gold claims are worked out and the only claim working in the Flat is Mouatt and Party’s (formerly Paddy Kane’s) red cement claim near the Red Hill, at the western side of the Bald Hill.


As far as I know, most of the gold was got out of O’Toole’s lead, and the party of miners who worked in this lead were known as O’Toole and party, and the claim must have worked for 40 years. It was on the Western side of the main road. In bygone days, when O’Toole’s men were working in the richest of the black sand; they had gone down to the tables which caught the gold in miners’ plush, and when they looked down from the bank of the claim late in the day, the tables would look like a sheet of solid gold. It was so thick on the plush that hundreds of pounds’ worth of gold were lost off the tables, as the miners in those days were unable to save what remained on the plush. There were fly catchers erected in some of the creeks by miners to save anything that left the claims, and a fair amount was caught in this way.

About ten different parties worked the deep deposited gold leads on the Flat. Some miners also worked the gold deposits in the sides of the hills by the tunnelling process, and some were lucky enough to make good money at the game. Four ounces of gold were got to each set of timber; that would mean £16 to every four feet of earth dug out of the hill, and good men made £15 for each day they toiled.

The rig system of removing the stones, boulders and gravel from the face of the paddocks was operated in each claim.

O’Toole’s party was the first to experiment with this system and the first man to put it in working order was a man by the name of John McTaggart. He first tried it with what is known as the water balance, that is, a large truck tank was loaded with water at the top of the rig, and as the tank got full, it would pull up a truck of stones that was loaded down at the hopperings. About half as much weight of water would be in the tank as what was in the truck of stones and when the tank got to the bottom of the rig, it would mechanically empty itself and the empty stone truck would then be filled with water, and by this means it would bring the empty tank back to repeat the operation of filling again to raise the truck of stones. When this method proved successful, then all the other parties in the other different claims erected the water balance. The party system of working the claims was a success all through the long years of the mining existence. Thirty odd years ago a company was formed in Westport and they bought out Mr Landy’s claim. A Mr Waters was appointed manager. Several hundreds of pounds were spent in building a large dam in the hills at the back of Paddy Sullivan’s, near the Red Hill. They opened out the claim at the foot of the hill and named it “The Fair Maid.” This claim worked for a few years with Mr John Guthrie as working manager, but it did not turn out the financial success they expected.

Later was started the Shamrock claim, on the Charleston side of Mountain Creek. Instead of the water balance rig system of getting rid of the gravel, they worked it with what is known as the high pressure blow up. This claim worked for a year or so and then went into liquidation. Phill McEnroe then gave it a fresh start on his own, but it never was a paying concern.

Tom Wright, the Westport watch maker, Hardley, the tinsmith, and Steve Garvin, formed a company and started the first crushing battery with a dozen head of stampers in a claim known as “The Venture.” They crushed the red cement out near Suilivan’s and for years this was paying handsomely. All the rich patches of cement have been worked out. There is plenty of gold still in the remainder of this red cement, but a cheaper method of working it must be put into operation.

In 1896, Addison’s was again in bloom. I was in that year that the great German Exploration Company started their claim at Addisons, near the Bald Hill and named the place “The Bendigo.” When the great foreign company was buying out claims at Charleston, Addison’s, and Fairdown, and giving the prices asked for by the sellers a fair amount of speculating was going on. A man named Purcu bought Mick Sullivan’s claim out for £800 and in a few weeks sold it again to Dencker and Peelsticker, the German agents for the handsome sum of £14,000. The German syndicate opened out his claim, employed hundreds of miners and after a year or so they abandoned the whole show after spending thousands and not getting a copper in return. The above two named gentleman are said to have swindled the German syndicate right and left and finished up in a great court case in Blenheim. I think, Dencker parted up with a few thousands of pounds he had in hand, but what became of Peelsticker, I don’t know. I am told that J. Millikin and party, in their claim alone at ground sluicing and cement crushing, from the time they started work in the early days of the Flat until a few years ago, got 2½ tons of gold out of the ground at the rate of £3 19s per oz., troy weight.

Micky Burke was also a mining inspector about 28 years ago. He started a big claim over at Virgia Flat. It seemed that Micky finally got into trouble with the company he represented and was the defendant in a big court case in Westport.

A good story is told of the time when the mining speculators were at work buying out the shares in claims. It was a Sunday evening, when several of the young men of Addison’s were sitting talking at the top of Dick Harley’s Hill and a wag, by the name of Jack Warne, disguised himself and as the old men of the party of O’Toole’s claim were returning home from McEnroe’s and Kennedy’s hotels, they were met by Warne who introduced himself as a speculator. The rest of his mates were hiding in the manuka bushes close by to hear the fun. Warne met Dan McNamara, Bill Killen, Paddy McEnroe and Peter Halligan and told them his business. We are the party of O’Toole’s claim said Pat McEnroe and are prepared to do business with you. “I have heard of this wonderful claim” said Warne, “and I intend making you on offer of £16,000 for your claim, but I must have a good look at the property first.” “We’ll meet you at the claim at 10 o’clock in the morning,” said Dan McNamara, “but the value of the claim is worth double the amount you are offering, in fact, I have the gold receipts up in my house for the gold sold for the last 30 years to prove my statement.” “Man dear,” said Pat McEnroe, “if you go down to the sluicing face of our claim on a dark night, you can see the gold shining in the black sand.” Bill Killen and Peter Halligan were too dumbfounded to speak. Warne bid the old chaps “good night” and arranged to meet them at the claim in the morning. At daybreak next morning, O’Toole’s party were down at the claim straightening things up far the welcome visitor at 10 a.m. They waited at the blacksmith’s shop until dinner hour. They were too excited to eat dinner and they waited on until 3 p.m, but no friend arrived, so they sent Pat McEnroe down to the pub to see what was wrong. Pat returned back about 4.30 and told the rest of his mates how they had been had by some spalpheen. Their hearts dropped to zero. The poor old fellow swore all sorts of things on his life and Dan McNamara, the principal spokesman, said that if he ever crossed his path, then he would make a hole in his trousers with a shot gun that large, that Ferguson the tailor, would never be able to patch it.


In latter years when a Greymouth syndicate brought out Carmody and party’s claim (The Garry Owen), thus had in charge a Mr Wylde, who purchased a dredge from Otago and had it erected in front of the Shamrock Hotel. But time proved it was not up to the old standard of the water balance and to-day it is rusting to pieces and this claim disbanded.

There is still plenty of gold in the flats of Addison’s, but until a cheap system is available for removing the large amount of deposit that is covering the black sand, it will not pay to work the gold.


Addisons was populated to the extent of some thousands before road or track was made. To reach it from the two seaport towns, such as Westport and Charleston, everything had to be packed to the miners with pack horsese and swaggers. To give you some idea of how foodstuffs, etc. was conveyed, one leg packer by the name of Paddy Walsh, was known to carry an 18-gallon keg of food on his back from Westport to Myles McPadden’s hotel at Addisons on a hot summer’s day, and all he received in payment was his walking time. I am informed by some of Paddy’s old friends that when this swagger labored along under the weight of the 18 gallons, when he came to every creek that crossed his way, he would take off his swag, lean over the waters of the creek, take a good swig of aqua pura, wipe his sleeve across his mouth, turn to his swag with a saddened eye and repeat in a solemn whisper, “Thou art so near and yet so far.”

Packer’s Point, at the South Spit at Westport, was the starting place for the Flat, and on getting on to the pahikis, the swagger had to follow beating tracks until he got to his destination.


The Government, which was in those days Provincial Government, began to make the roads and bridge the rivers between Westport and Charleston. In 1868 Addisons was going in full swing. Large wooden buildings for hotels, stores, etc., were being erected. The remains of one of the old buildings are there to-day, and that is the Shamrock Hotel.

Phil McEnroe was the second owner of that hotel, Phil having left a baker’s shop at Charleston to take on hotelkeeping at Addisons. He also carrying, butchering, blacksmithing, and baking in conjunction with the hotel. The McEnroe family left Addisons some 20 years ago to take over the Britannia Hotel at Wellington, and it was in the Capital City that Phil, like Dick Seddon and other notable men, was laid to rest.


Addisons, like other mining towns in the early days, ran what are known as the dance houses. Some of the publicans would erect a large dancing room at their hotels and would employ from four to 10 girls as dance girls, and every night in the week a dance would be held. Crowds of miners would gather every evening at the dance rooms, as that was the only enjoyment they had. The price of admission was “nix,” but after every dance that a man had with a dance girl, he would have to take her to the hotel bar and “shout” for her, which meant 2s every time. One of the largest dance housese was erected by Tim Sheahan, and was known as Sheahan’s Casino, and it was built at the back of the Church of England, on the Skibireen road, leading up towards Neight’s Gully. (This part of the country has long since been worked away by Tom Neil’s and Morgan’s parties.) The Skibereen was then the main street of Addisons. It got its name from Cork, Ireland; at Ballemore Bay.

One of the greatest and most notable of balls ever held in the history of Addisons was held in Sheahan’s Casino. The price of admission was £1 a head, and the net profits of the hall were to go to Hokitika to fight the case of the Rev. Father Larkin, who got into serious trouble with the police in a celebration of protest against the hanging of the Manchester Martyrs in England. £500 was taken at the ball room door that evening. Inside and outside the hall was crowded. The music was supplied at that notable ball by Mr D. Stanton, cornet, and Patsy Mulqueen, clarionet.

The young generation can talk about their fancy fox trots, one-steps and veletas, etc., of to-day, but they could not hold a candle to the Irish jigs, hornpipes, reels, etc., that were danced on the evening of the grand ball. Dandy Pat put his heel through a flooring board that night in the finishing-up step of a Connaught Jig.

As years rolled on a State School was built, then the Irish Land League dances were held in the schoolroom. Hughie Moran would act as M.C. and was assisted by Bob Flynn, of Charleston. Mrs Barker, of Westport, would preside at the piano, with Mr Rosenberg, of Charleston, cornet, and Tom McNeight and Jim McQuinn at the fiddles.

The McEnroe’s built a public hall in the heart of the township and all socials and dances were carried out in the new hall. Paddy Galvin would be the M.C. and Miss Katie McEnroe would preside at the piano. I must also mention that on a fine Sunday evening in the latter years of Addisons just after church services, all the aged men would go up and squat on the Shamrock Hotel verandah. The old women would all gather at the crossroads by Maurice Foley’s place, and while the old men were talking about the week’s work done in the claims, and the women telling each other the latest scandal, and the bad color of the washing put out on washing day on Mrs So and So’s clothes line, then the young lads and lassies would go helter skelter down to Dirty Mary’s Creek bridge. Manuka brooms would be got to work to sweep the decking of the bridge. Then Charlie Cates would pull and push the very life out of an accordeon. Jim Galvin would call out the figures and a half a dozen sets of the youth and beauty of Addisons would dance the first set, Lancers, etc., for a good hour and a-half, and by that time Dad and Mum would come along and the open-air hall would be brought to a close.


It was in 1867 that war was declared at Addisons between the Orangemen and the Irishmen. It was not a capitalist war, but a religious war pure and simple, and the story of this great battle has often been handed down to the young generation by their parents who lived in Addisons at that time, but a review of the battle will no doubt be of interest.

On St. Patrick’s Day of that year the Irishmen held a march past the pubs with bands and banners flying to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, and according to Tom Hussey, St. Patrick was nothing more than a runaway Scotchman. Well, when the 12th of July came along and the Orangemen turned out and tried to make a better exhibition of their procession than the Irishmen did, everything went sailing merrily along until a lady by the name of Bella Newton, who was mounted on a grey horse, came along in the procession, and a man by the name of Mick Ward could stand it no longer. He went forth and pulled Bella down from the horse, and this angered the men donned in the saflern sashes. The King William warriors and the admirers of King James clashed, and oh! talk about the Anzacs’ gallant deeds, it was nothing compared with this clash. The Green was too much for the Yellow that day. Stones, pitchforks, pick handles, blackthorn sticks were welting, bashing, and crashing in all directions. As the Orangemen retreated they fell back in disorder, and one incident amused me, and that was of a stray Orangeman clearing for dear life around the side of old Hardy’s butcher’s shop, and Jack O’Keefe and Jack Hussey after him—O’Keefe with an axe-handle and Hussey with the broken blade of a cross-cut saw. O’Keefe was just in the act of smasming his opponent’s brains out, when Hussey cried out, “For God’s sake, O’Keefe, don’t kill him until I have the pleasure of having one whack, at the Orange divil.” Poor old Tom Hussey passed away in the Westport Hospital about 25 years ago, at the age of 88. He was a great old humorist and loved telling the younger generation of the wars that were fought and won in the Flat between King William’s and King James’s men.

At the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, when King James’s men retreated from King William, so did the followers of King William retreat back over Dirty Mary’s and Henman’s Creeks and took refuge down at the Buller. They gathered all the forces they could at Westport and all the brethren from the Terraces. The day for the battle arrived. There must have been about 3000 men lined up for action on the banks of the Buller river, with guns, pistols, spears and clubs, sworn by their commander to kill every Irishman they met. At the same time the Irishmen mobilised under the command of an ex-English officer, and he had a noble band of about the same number as the King Williamites at Westport. The Addisons army was lined up along the main road, the long rank reaching from the Shamrock Hotel to Dick Harley’s Hill. Before the word forward march was given, the commander gave the order to take no prisoners. This order was received with cheers and the singing of “God Save Ireland.”

A lieutenant in the Addisons army, who suffered from heart disease, went into Paddy Byrne’s store to get a drink of water, and then scooted out the back door and hid in a hole, as he claimed to be a conscientious objector.

The Addisons army were armed with a heavy stone tied in the toe of their wives’ stockings, pick handles, pitchforks and double-barrelled guns.

Now with all the preparations that were made by both sides, the battle never eventuated.

A tactful magistrate by the name of Mr Kinerley, rode out to Addisons on horse back, met the Addisons army, and told them that if they dared to advance a mile towards Westport that not a man of them would return alive, as the Orangemen at the Buller were 10,000 strong and were coming with guns and cannon, and half of them were mounted. This put the fear of God into the Irishmen and the order from the commander was given to dismiss.

Mr Kinerley turned his horse and rode back to the Buller, met the Orange men advancing. He stopped them and said that he had just seen about 12,000 Irishmen marching to Westport with all the latest implements for war purposes, and if the Addisons men met them they would be chopped up, quartered, and made into mince meat. They immediately lowered their banners and went pell-mell back to the terraces, thus ending one of the greatest slaughtering matches that would ever have been written in the world’s history.

When the Westport Orangemen found out how they were had, they appealed to the State for an army to be sent down to the Buller to make the Irishmen behave themselves, and the Defence Department, working on what they thought good advice, sent volunteers from Auckland. An army of about 500 trained men was shipped at Auckland for Westport, and when the ship got outside the Auckland Heads, the lads started singing “Garry Owen” “St. Patrick’s Day,” and “God Save Ireland.” The ship’s captain here discovered that the men were all ex-Irish soldiers from the Connaught Rangers, so he turned his ship back with the rebels and left them in Auckland. In the meantime, the Orangemen at Westport were waiting for the reinforcements from Auckland to arrive, and when the steamer was sighted at Westport hundreds of the Orange army waited at the wharf to meet, as they thought, their comrades, but as the ship was nearing the wharf, to their surprise, they heard a poor old crippled man playing “The Wearing of the Green” on a flute. They left the wharf heart-broken, and peace was declared, and remained so ever since in this district between the Green and Yellow.


It was in the year 1869 that the Catholic Church was built at Addisons and when finished, it was used during the week days as a school. Mrs Duffy was the teacher, and when she left and went to Reefton, a Miss Mills took charge. The church was erected by subscription, and the Rev. Father Walsh was the priest in charge, and remained so until recently.

The Church of England was erected about the same time at the side of the Skibereen road. The cemetery was laid out at the side of the Catholic Church, and there to-day rest the remains of about 80 to 100 noble men and women and many loving children of Addisons residents. Many years ago the English Church was taken down so that Morgan and party could work the ground for gold, but the Catholic Church still stands. Its timbers are solid. In the church is a lovely organ, and the church is well cared for and kept clean by one of the residents of the Flat. Mass is very seldom celebrated out there owing to the population decreasing.

The remains of the first few who died at Addisons were laid to rest in a cemetery reserve on the pahikis just above McPadden’s Hill. For several years some wooden fences enclosed their resting places, but they have long since been broken down. To-day the manuka tree and weeds grow on the graves of the few miners buried over there. They have long since been forgotten and the wandering stock graze on the top of their forgotten graves.


Up in a gully on the east side of Addisons Mr J. O’Keefe had a brewery, and supplied the hotels with the ale. I fancy Mr Walter Williams bought out Mr O’Keefe’s share in the brewery and carried on for a few years.


In 1881 the Education Department built a handsome school and appointed a Mr Hogan as head teacher and Miss McRae as assistant. About 140 children were then attending the school. Some of the students of that little school have made a name for themselves in different parts of the world. Amongst the number is Mr Tom Kane, M.A., at Wellington, and Miss Theresa McEnroe, the New Zealand prima donna, who recently left for Europe to complete her studies, and Mr Phil McRae, who is now a bank manager in the North Island. A few years ago the school was burnt ground, and Mr Ash, the teacher who had about seven pupils attending the school, then taught them in his private house.


Although a gaol was built in Addisons and a constable stationed there, it is indeed pleasing to state that the door of that gaol was never locked on a living soul, which spoke well for the behaviour of the residents of Addisons. In latter years the gaol was used as a storeroom by Paddy Byrne, the storekeeper, and afterwards used by Mr Jack Ahern as a fowlhouse. A good story is told of a couple of drunks who were trying to run each other into the cell, and as they were passing over Carmody’s Creek bridge near the gaol they took a roll and both flopped into the creek, which soon brought them to their senses.

An act something similar occurred many years ago at Denniston, when Dick Newton, the trombone player, and Jack Manderson were rowing on the road near the brink of the dam, and were just coming to blows when young Jack Harris pushed both of them over the side into the cold water. This act soon brought both of them to realise their serious position. The night was pitch dark, and Manderson swam westward for the shore, and Newton did the overhand stroke towards the Catholic church.


Two miles to the south of Addisons is situated the Giant’s Grave. Like the Egyptian pyramids, this grave has a mystery. It has come down in history that very many years ago a large tribe of Maoris were advancing down the Coast from Nelson. When they arrived at the Totara river it was in flood and the weather was very wet. The chief died while the vast tribe of Maoris were waiting to cross the Totara, so they carried their dead chief well inland and buried him about a couple of miles on the high land to the north of the Totara river, and so to mark the last resting place of the dead warrior, the Maoris spent some weeks at making a long and high mound. It is known to-day as the Gian’t Trave. It stands on the right side of the road just half-way between Addisons and the Totara river.

The above matter is not my theory, but it is as supplied to me by an old identity. A cretic in the Westport News of May 22nd, 1923, supplies the following as authentic.


Sir,—In yesterday’s instalment of “The History of the Addisons Goldfields,” your chronicler leaves the path of sober fact and wanders into the realms of legend: To wit, briefly, that the grave-like formation known as the Giant’s Grave was raised by the Maoris as a monument over the resting place of a dead chief. I have heard that story, but this is the first one I heard accounting for the grave-like mound: Many years ago, when a youth, I, with a number of other young fellows, was being driven to a sports gathering at Charleston by the late Geordie Holmes, in his time one of the best known and most popular men in the district. He could also tell a story well, and knowing that none of us had ever been over the road before, was enabled to play his joke upon us. As the jovial Jehu bowled us along in his best four-in-hand style, he regaled those of us within earshot with the story of the Yellow and Green disturbance which your historian already chronicled, but after recounting the facts and, as I afterwards learned, coloring them a bit, he added a chapter all on his own. As a matter of fact, and as the “News” historian records, no fight took place, due to the tact and strategy of Magistrate Kynnersley (not Kinnerly). The factions, of course, demobilised before meeting, but Geordie’s version ignored this rather important fact, and he recounted how they marched on and on across the Pahikis until they met at a spot somewhere further on than the township, pointing the whip in the direction of the alleged battlefield. “And divil the mother’s son of them was left alive; they’re all buried in one grave. I’ll show it to you further on.” We told him that we thought he was a relative of Ananias, and, anyhow, “What the h—l was the disturbance about?” “Damned if I know,” said Geordie, “but I suppose they thought they should have a crack at one another on principle.” Arriving at McEnroe’s pub, we pulled up for some lubrication, and started at once to tell Phil that we thought Geordie was no George Washington, but, the wink having been passed, no doubt, Phil supported Geordie to the last trench or manuka bush, and, in support, referred us to a painting in the bar parlor representing the Irishmen marching across the pahikis. By this time we saw that there was at least a tincture of truth in the story. On resuming the journey, about a mile further on, the genial hoaxer pointed to a huge mound about a mile away. “There you are, lads! there’s thousands of men buried under there. You’ll believe me now,” and, seeing the amazed look on our faces (for what else could it but a huge grave) he laughed heartily. Passing the spot, we saw, of course, that the mound was a peculiar piece of Nature’s handiwork, and Geordie was sentenced–on the same grounds–as Tom Pepper.

Occasionally a wag will tell the stranger, who, mistaking the grave for an artificial formation, asks what it is for, that it is the grave of the first two teams of the Addisons and Charleston footballers who met.

Yours, etc.,


The Seddon Shield matches are one of the greatest draws on the Coast at the present tine, but I must give an account of one of the greatest football matches that ever took place in the history of the West Coast, and it took place on the Charleston beach in the year 1868 for a wager of £50 a-side, between Charleston and Addisons teams. Near the football ground a man named Jack Cullan had a hotel, and on the football ground Phil McEnroe had a publican’s booth 100ft in length. About 5,000 spectators were present to witness this wonderful event. Three matches were played on that day, and Charleston won two games and Addison one. It took nearly the whole day to play the matches, and the excitement was somewhat intense and betting was brisk. Jim Dee captained the Addisons team and amongst the 15 of the best players from Addisons in that team were Pat McEnroe, Jim Haden, Jimmy O’Riley, and Hughie Moran (the present caretaker of the Westport Domain). The publicans took hundreds of pounds at the drinking booths at 1/- a nobbler. In the evening a grand ball was held at Charleston to finish up the day’s sport. For many years after that great event football went dead, but about the year 1893 it came to light again when a club was formed, and amongst the crack players were Jim Hepburn and Billy Armstrong. Just about that time Denniston had been winning all the matches on the Coast, but when they met the Addisons boys in a rep. match at McPadden’s paddock on August 4, 1894 the Highlanders met their Waterloo. The Addisons team won by 3 points. It was a great “suck in” to Denniston, who thought themselves cock of the walk. Hepburn and Armstrong were the only two men of note in the Addisons team and the remainder were native born. In the Denniston team were J. Smith, H. Levy, J. Smythe, Charlie Brown, Peckham and Kennedy in the backs, and the forwards consisted of Duncan, Jack O’Leary, Hope, Osborne, Lutton, Glover, G. Smith, Tony McGee and Jock Moye. It was in this match that Jimmy Hepburn kicked one of the longest and most awkward goals ever kicked in Maoriland history. Through losing this match no doubt Denniston got the “wind up,” for they immediately imported Bob Henderson, D. Peacock, Nipper Rhodes, Bill Bowers, and several other players to the Hill from Brunner, and by doing so regained their lost honors.


About 1905 the Addisons boys formed a Cricket Club and they made a name for themselves in the world of sport. Tom Kane, M.A., now in Wellington College, was captain, and some real good batsmen and bowlers were turned out from that Club. When the said Club had won honors for themselves, I wrote several verses in their praise, and in looking through my old scrap book I find I have my poetry still in safe keeping, and the verses were written under the title of “The Addisons Cricket Team,” and the first and last verses ran as follows:—

For they come from over yonder, just across the Buller River,
It’s a team that can lick creation, they are miners from the Flat.
When the other fellows meet them, why they fairly shake and shiver,
For some champions are amongst them with the ball and with the bat.


was also a great game in 1900, and an asphalt court was laid down in the school ground. All the cricket team were in the Tennis Club, and I understand the pick of the ladies were: Misses Sparrow, Kennedy (2), A. Halligan, and Cates (2), and F. Douglas.


was never played in Addisons. Forty-fives was the favorite game at cards.


In the early days of the Flat were some of the best musicians that ever stepped in shoe leather. Dance music was supplied by Tom McNeight (fiddle), Stern Young and Jim McQuinn (banjos), Patsy Mulqueen (clarionette), Stanton (cornet). An old army man by the name of Cochrane, used to play the Irish pipes, and Cochrane, when in England, was presented by the late Queen Victoria with pipes to the value of £100, and according to old identities he could rattle great music out of them. The dance musicians were paid £9 per night for their playing. Jazzing was then unknown, but step dancing would fill in between the round dances and in those days the late Dan Reedy was the N.Z. champion Irish Jigger, with Pat O’Sullivan (Dandy Pat) and John O’Keefe as runners-up.


The first Member was Tim Gallagher, and he represented the constituency in what was known as the Provincial days. Dr Henry, of Charleston, was the next to represent the district and later, at a General Election, was unseated by Mr Fisher, a soliciter at Westport. Then came E. J. O’Connor and John Munro and later O’Conner defeated Munro. Later came Rody McKenzie, P. J. O’Regan, J. Colvin and our present member, Mr H. E. Holand.


In 1868 a couple of doctors and two chemists’ shops were doing business at Addisons. The places of business were up the Skibereen road. I am told that one of the doctors was a demon on the digestive organs, and it did not matter whether you went to him with a bad back, a broken neck or a cut finger, the first thing he would recommend you to take was a pannikin full of hot senna tea. One chemist’s name was McGuiggan, and he imported senna leaves by the sack so as to cope with the doctor’s orders.

In the dark ages of the Flat, when the population was about 4000, there was no provision in the place for a hospital for accidents. Hospitals were erected at Charleston and Westport. Charleston at that time was the principal town in the Buller district. Four resident doctors were at Charleston and two at Westport. If an Addisons miner broke his leg he was carried 8 miles to the Westport Hospital to be treated by Dr. Gruhn or Dr Thorpe, or he was caried on a stretcher shoulder high by gangs of his fellow miners, to Charleston to the doctors down in that township. This mode of carrying an injured miner was in vogue until 20 years ago, when Billy Tottenham arranged a mode of conveying the injured in his express. At the present time that sort of conveying is done by the motor-car, but there are no miners at present on the Flat to get a broken leg.


In the year 1891 a brass hand was formed at Addisons. Tom McNeight, Jnr., was conductor, and about a dozen players with brass instruments constituted a very creditable country band.


Like other cities some of the names of the residents by their actions and words will trace down through history and one character I must at this stage tell you of, and that is the son of a very large Irish estate holder, by the name of Jerry Buckley who was the principal bread baker at Addison’s. It didn’t matter what anybody said or did. Jerry always knew someone that did better and it didn’t matter how big the lie he told he could never be bowled out, and I believe that if Webster when compiling a dictionary if stuck for a new word he could always get it from Buckley. On one occasion a horse belonging to Tom McNeight fell down a shaft, which contained water at the bottom. It was an impossible act to try and raise the horse with a block and tackle. Several of the miners held a consultation at the mouth of the shaft to try and find a scheme to get the horse up, and finally an Irishman by the name of Paddy Kelly struck the idea. “Be jay,” said he, “there is a race of water passing close to the shaft,” and so he cut a ditch from the race into the shaft, and as the shaft filled with water the horse naturally lifted and floated out safely. As the horse stepped out, Jack Foley turned to Buckley, the village baker, and asked him what he thought of that. “Oh indeed,” said Jerry, “there is nothing in that, it is purely and simply a case of hydro-Kelly-tricity.” I would like to tell many of the humorous storys told by Buckley, and the noble deeds done by him, but space will not allow, many of them at present, but in the evenings, there always sat a number of the old miners on the forms under McEnroe’s verandah. One evening Jerry Buckley walked across and met Phil McEnroe at the bar door and started to tell Phil of his trip that day down to Mace and Bassett’s claim below The Venture claim, and said Jerry, “When I got down the creek near the claim I saw a new fluming going across the creek and it was 30ft high.” “Tut, tut,” said Phil it is 40ft high.” “Well,” said Jerry, “if I wasn’t mistaken, it was 50ft high.” “Mick Teddy told me,” said Phil, “that the fluming is 60ft high.” “When I got under it and looked up” said Buckley, “I said to myself, you are 70ft in height.” “Look here,” said Phil. “Billy Galvin knows what he is talking about, and he said, here in the bar, the other day that that new piece of fluming is 80ft high.” “I wouldn’t doubt,” said Jerry, “that it is 90ft high if it is an inch.” “Let me tell you,” said Phil, that “Mr Julis Schaddock, who surveyed the structure told me that the correct height of the fluming above the the creek is 100ft.” “Indeed,” said Buckley, “it is, and more.”


Its strange how this scenic landscape of a mountain stream got its name. At the first days of the rush, a lady by the Christian name of Mary, lived there. Mary was a very clean woman, I am told, and a Christian, morally. A terrible unknown murder must have taken place on the mountain side of the bridge, crossing Dirty Mary’s Creek, for it has been said that for years, at the dark hours of midnight, people who happened to be standing on the bridge at that hour, could always hear the pityful cries of a woman, resembling the Bannshe and the rattling of bones.


When the sly grog was selling in Addison’s in the early days, the police seem to let them have a free hand, but if any person kept a boarding house without paying a license, they were had up and fined for doing so.


The first branch of this society to open in New Zealand was opened at Addison’s on January 2nd, 1870, and it was opened in a store close to McEnroe’s Hotel. A very large membership were initiated that evening. A Mr Byrne from Melbourne came over to open the lodge and give it a start in Maoriland. Michael Carmody was elected as the first President, and Pat Moran (a cousin of Hugh Moran now in Westport), as the Secretary. Pat Moran after making his fortune in mining, left New Zealand and recently died at Waggawagga, in Australia, leaving £87,000 to his relations.


This hotel still stands by the roadside to provide a welcome glass to the thirsty souls who may pass that way. It was built in the early days and owned by a Mr J. Hayes. Mr Phil McEnroe at that time was a hotel-keeper at Brighton and also kept a baker’s shop in that part of the coast. Phil sold his Brighton business out and came to Addison’s and bought the hotel from Hayes, and here Phil met his future bride and got joined in the Holy Bonds of Wedlock.


When the surface gold was plentiful some fortunes were made and spent. Some men (one especially known as Black Sand Joe) made £100 a day and when pound notes were plentiful, miners were seen sitting in hotels and lighting their pipes with pound notes. Five Scotchmen who didn’t smoke or drink worked together in a rich claim on the Shamrock Lead, at Virgin Flat. They made a fortune and returned home to Aberdeen, Scotland. Very large amounts of gold were got near the service on the Shamrock claims. The deep black sand was unable to be worked on those days on account of the wet ground and never being able to get rid of the water. Years afterwards it was worked by the Shamrock Gold Mining Company with the blow up system.


Addison’s, from the start to the present day, bore the good name of having peaceful citizens. Only one notable scene occurred in the early stages, and that was a case of a couple of (illegible text) chaps who had a drop too much in at a hotel at Westport. One evening they got a bit rowdy and knocked over a kerosene lamp. The place caught fire and the hotel was burnt down. The men escaped and went out Addison's way and after a few days hiding out there with their friends, the police got word of their whereabouts and a squad of Westport police went out after them, the police arrived at the miners’ camp at daybreak and surrounded the hut. One of the accused managed to escape from the police and went for his life up the Shamrock water-race, over at the Shamrock. A policeman by the name of McNamara, made chase after him and in half an hour ran him down. The two accused were then handcuffed and brought down to Paddy Byrne’s store and kept there to partake of dinner as the police and prisoners were there. Some hundreds of miners gathered round the store and demanded the release of the men. The police then drew their pistols and told the crowd that the law must take its course, and the prisoners must be tried and fair justice would be done to them. With these remarks nothing further took place that day in demanding the release.


were in the Skibereen road, going from P. Byrne’s store up towards the brewery by the hill. Mulligan and Haliligan, also Geaves and Fleming, kept draper shops. Mr. Z. Berbetch had a bakery shop. There was also the Bank of Australia and the Bank of New Zealand. Dr Peacock also had a chemist shop. Dr. Donivans surgery was near the brewery, George Lampiough kept a butchery and the Royal Hotel. The late James Covlin, M.P., of Buller, had a butcher shop, out at the Shamrock. Mrs Dennehy and Mrs D. Moloney kept boarding-houses. Phil McEnroe also kept a store and butchery. A man by the name of Field had a hotel at the halfway house. Joe Mills, now employed by the Westport Borough Council, was a young lad and was packing bread on pack horses over the diggings for Phil McEnroe. Alex McRae kept a boot store and there were several other business places about the Flat.


Jim McQuinn, an American, who left Addison’s a few years ago, made several violins from native timbers and his violins have travelled all over the Dominion in the procession of men who valued them.


Never on record is there any account of an Addison’s marriage being divorced. When couples met and lingered together they married for love and have shown a good example to the rest of the Dominion. It is true that an odd couple parted but after they read and studied. Thomas Bracken’s poem, “Not Understood,” they began to see how short life was (illegible text) they were so they soo(illegible text) together again.


In 1864, the Hokitika gold rush broke out, and after the alluvial gold was got rid of, and other small gold rushes was visited, a large number of the miners came to Addison’s in 1867. A large majority of them settled down there and lived the greater part of their lives there. To-day very few of the gallant six thousand pioneers of Addison’s remain on this side of the Great Divide. Some of them travelled to the four corners of the globe. Others who made and saved good sums of money, went to the four large cities of N.Z. and most of them got on well in life, in different speculation. A few of the dear old faces are now earning a peaceful old age rest in some of the Old People’s Homes in the Dominion, a few are at present in Westport, and the O’conor Home of this town. To meet them and talk to them, of the old golden days of the Coast, their conversation of the bygone days are most interesting. Two of the oldest Identities of Addison’s are in the O’Conor Home. Pat Galvin, about 92 years of age and Mr Bill Millikin who is just turning 95 years of age and both are as hale and as hearty of lads of 30 years, in spite of the hardships of the pioneering and the hard toil that they did in the gold mining claims.


To-day the population of Addison’s has just dwindled down to five householders, namely, the McCanns in the Shamrock Hotel, the Jost family who live down in Galvin’s house on the river flat down Mountain Creek, Bob Neel, who is residing in the old house of his parents and who is a County roadman, Mrs Kane and S. Williamson, at Bald Hill. The gold mining days are finished and from the top of McPaddon’s Hill on the North until you reach the Totara river on the South there is nothing but a vast long and wide stretch of pakihi land, so far of little or no use for agricultural or pastoral purposes. At the Cawthron Laboratory in Nelson, the pakihi soil is being tested, and we, of the Buller district trust that science will prove that this sort of waste land will some day be made into green fields and when that time comes there may be a township with the same population (4,000) as there was in the year 1867 at Addison’s Flat.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in 1923, before the cutoff of January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1949, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 74 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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