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A Romance of Lake Wakatipu

Note 28.—Bill Fox Reaches the Out-Station

Note 28.—Bill Fox Reaches the Out-Station.

This is the story told by the station shepherd: "I was sent down country to bring up a horse from the south, being the Kingston end of the lake. I had hoped to reach the peninsula that evening, but was unable to accomplish it, and camped out. Next morning (30th September, 1862) I fell in with three men page 134carrying huge swags on their backs, and picks and shovels in their hands. They looked as if they had not seen food for some days, which was indeed the case, and yet the first thing they said when they saw me was not a request for food, but, 'Have you any tobacco? 'What I had was handed over to them, and then I gave them what little food remained. As we sat talking they informed me they had followed the Kawarau River up from the Dunstan, and were very anxious to get on to Rees's country. I told them Mr. Rees was to be at the foot of the lake that day, and if they pushed on and asked him he might give them a lift up in the boat, which they accordingly did, and Mr. Rees gave them a sail up to the station, and, having supplied them with provisions, sent them off to the Arrow River. The leader of the party was William Fox, and the township which sprang up on the Arrow afterwards for many years went by the name of Fox's. On the 8th October following I rode over to the Arrow and saw Fox. He gave me a tin-dish and told me to wash out a trial dish for luck. Putting a shovelful of earth from under a tematakauri bush growing on the banks of the river into the pan, he told me to wash away, showing me how to twirl the dish, gradually allowing the earth to float away, at the same time retaining the gold and black sand. Being a novice at the work I was naturally awkward, and Fox laughingly told me that I was washing all the gold away as well as the refuse. Granting such to have been the case, the fact remains that I panned out nearly four pennyweights of fine gold. It was my first attempt at gold-digging, but still there are few people, I fancy, who have washed out a much richer sample for their first attempt."