The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Mr. Edward Peters
Mr. Edward Peters (better known as Black Peter), to whom must be given the honour of being the first to discover gold in Tuapeka, was an East Indian, and came from Bombay. In March, 1857, he went to the district under engagement to Messrs Davy and Bowler. His mining experience was limited to cradle work in California, and the nature of wash dirt in which gold was usually found; but of practical mining he know nothing. Whilst on one of his sledging excursions with food to other shepherds, he crossed the Tuapeka stream as usual by driving the bullocks through and crossing by stepping stones himself. This was done at Hopkin's Crossing, near which now stands the Evan's Flat mill. As he was taking a pannikin of water from the creek to slake his thirst, the thought struck him to try for gold by scooping up some silt with that utensil, and he was rewarded with a rough speck of gold. On other occasions he found other prospects, and these resulted in Mr. John Thomson, who was afterwards manager of the “Nil Desperandum” and “Victory” mines at Waipori, setting out with Peter for the locality of his discovery. There they remained for about three months, and obtained only a few ounces of gold. Mr. Thomson was afterwards the pioneer in opening up the Kaitangata coal mine, and Black Peter himself returned to his old employment for some time, and then went to live at the Clutha, where he died in 1893. His discovery did not enrich himself, but it was instrumental in leading to great results through the medium of Gabriel Read's more stimulating experiences. In 1861, Peter, through Mr. John Foster, of Kaihiku Falls, laid his claim before the Provincial Government, for the reward offered for the discovery of the goldfield, but the application was refused, and it was not till 1885 that any public recognition of his services was made. Then £50 was placed in the Appropriation Act by the Government for his benefit; conditionally on the public raising a like amount. The public did not resent this niggardly stipulation, and raised the necessary sum. This small sum was judiciously invested, and in that way “Black Peter,” in his declining years, was freed from absolute want.
The Late Mr. E. Peters.