has been termed the metropolis of the West Coast, and is undoubtedly the commercial centre of Westland. It is situated between Hokitika (distant twenty-five miles) and Reefton (distant forty-five miles). An excellent train service is maintained with both towns. The town is built on Maori land, and this has, in a minor way, been a drawback, as the land is vested in the Public Trustee, and held by the present occupiers on leases of twenty-one years, which, however, can be renewed. The Grey, as it is familiarly called, first sprang into existence in the year 1865, when gold was reported to have been discovered in the district.
The gold industry has been an important factor in bringing Greymouth to the position which it now occupies as the chief town in Westland, though it also owes much to the valuable coal deposits at Blackball and Brunnerton. The coal is said to be equal to the best in the colonies, and it is estimated that between 2000 and 3000 tons are exported weekly. But though the West Coast is rich in auriferous and carboniferous deposits, it cannot be said to be an agricultural province, although there are several good farms between Hokitika and Reefton. Stock of all kinds is imported from Wanganui, and sales are held regularly every week, Of late years the timber industry has sprung up, and is now making rapid progress. The exports of timber from the port amount to many millions of feet per annum. The railways connected with Greymouth include the line to Reefton, the Christchurch line—which in the year 1905 was open to Otira—and the lines to Hokitika and to the State coal mines at Runanga. When the railway system of the colony is completed it is intended that Greymouth shall be connected with Canterbury and Nelson. Greymouth has four banks—the National Bank, Bank of New South Wales, Union Bank of Australia, and the Bank of New Zealand, all of which ship gold to Wellington in large quantities. Speaking generally, the people may be said to be in a prosperous condition.
In the early days Greymouth was a favourite haunt of bushrangers, and about six miles from the town, a monument has been erected to the memory of a young surveyor named Dobson, who was foully murdered by the Burgess gang, who had mistaken him for a gold buyer.
The harbour protection works at Greymouth have transformed an almost impossible port into a workable maritime depot, which is extens very used by the Union Steamship Company's steamers, by the boats of the Anchor line, and other vessels. One of the first business men to settle in Grey was Mr. R. Waite, who arrived on the site of the township, and landed on the river beach, in July, 1864. He brought with him a considerable quantity
Greymouth in 1899. Ring, photo.
of stores by the s.s. “Nelson,” and at once erected a temporary tent. The Maoris, of whom there were a considerable number in the district, had brought in a splendid sample of gold, the source of which was subsequently found to be at Greenstone, almost twenty-five miles from Greymouth. The gold had to be packed to the port, and in the early days of the field, which sprang up shortly afterwards, many rough experiences were endured by the travelling bankers, who entered into competition with each other for the purchase of the precious metal, and it not unfrequently happened that parcels of gold were lost, and considerable quantities stolen. One of the first banking officials to arrive landed on the 25th of October, 1864, and in his book, “Banking under Difficulties,” published in 1888, he states that the now flourishing town of Greymouth then consisted only of Mr. Waite's store. The town is situated at the mouth of the Mawhera, or Grey river, which flows parallel with the principal retail street, Mawhera Quay. This river empties itself almost due west into the ocean, and as the prevailing winds in the locality are chiefly from the south-west, it is sometimes difficult to navigate the bar. As seen from the sea, the town is flanked by wooded hills, and with the bluffs on each side of the Grey river.
Greymouth is the principal settlement in the electorate of Grey, and is in the provincial district of Westland. The population of the borough has been steadily increasing; at the census of 1896 it was returned as 3099, and five years later it had risen to 3748, in addition to eighty-nine persons on ship-board in the harbour. For the year 1904, the total value of exports from the port was £450,448, and the imports for the same year were £70,440. The Greymouth of 1905 has a number of public bodies; namely, the Greymouth Borough Council, the Greymouth Harbour Board, the Grey County Council, the Grey Education Board, the Grey Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and the Grey River Hospital Board. There are two newspapers, the “Grey River Argus,” and the “Evening Star,” and both journals occupy substantial premises in Tainui Street. The fraternal orders represented are: the Greymouth Masonic Lodge, Loyal Grey Lodge, Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity,
Opening Day of the Children's Park. Ring, photo.
and Lodge Star of the West, United Ancient Order of Druids. Greymouth has also cricket, football, swimming, tennis, and golf clubs, a trotting club and a jockey club. The Borough Council water works pumping station and reservoir is situated on the Brunnerton road, and furnishes an excellent supply for the residents. The local industries include a sawmill, a sash and door factory, engineering works, railway workshops, a brewery, and an aerated water and cordial factory. The various trades and callings are fully represented, and a large business is done in the wholesale as well as in the retail departments. The principal business streets of the port are Mawhera Quay and Richmond Quay, Tainui Street, Mackay Street and Boundary Street. The Government Departments in the town consist of the Post and Telegraph Office, the Savings Bank, the Courthouse, the Police Station, and offices connected with the State mines and inspection of factories. There are Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, and Roman Catholic churches, and the Roman Catholic church, with its fine spire, stands conspicuously on part of the terrace at the back of the business portion of the borough. The local societies include the West Coast Agricultural and Pastoral Association, the Greymouth Poultry Society, a pigeon club, and a kennel club. The various insurance companies are represented by agents, merchants, solicitors, and others, and the Australian Mutual Provident Society and the Government Life Department have district offices. Greymouth has a public primary school, and a District High School; and also Roman Catholic primary and secondary schools. The military spirit is represented by the Grey Rifle Volunteers. The well-equipped Grey River Hospital stands about a mile and a-half out of the town. Greymouth has a Town Hall, which the residents regard as the finest building on the West Coast. The fire brigade and the local gas supply are under the control of the Borough Council. The borough has numerous hotels, and also a modern coffee palace. There is a Children's Park of about three acres in extent, and the land has been levelled and terraced, laid out in walks, and planted with trees; and the Town's Coronation Band Rotunda was erected at a cost of £800. It was designed by Mr. E. I. Lord, and consists of a concrete base, with iron superstructure; and round the base there are bronze drinking fountains, and several marble tablets, referring to historical incidents connected with the district.
Another View of Greymouth in 1899. Ring, photo