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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

Mr. T. Gabriel Read

Mr. T. Gabriel Read , who had the honour of being the discoverer of the first payable goldfield in Otago, came to New Zealand in 1856 from Tasmania. He was attracted by the newspaper reports concerning the discoveries at the Lindis, and in due course he came to Dunedin in the “Pride of the Yarra.” Whilst he was working at Tokomairiro news of Black Peter's finds reached him, and he sot out for the district, carrying with him a letter of introduction to Mr. Peter Robertson, one of the pioneer settlers of Tuapeka. At Mr. Robertson's he received somewhat discouraging accounts, but, guided and directed by one of Mr. Robertson's sons. he went in quest of gold-bearing country, and in a day or two made his memorable discovery in the gully which now bears his name. The previous finds of Black Peter, and the hospitality and friendly suggestions of Mr. Peter Robertson's family, and of Mr. George Munro, were all factors in his success, but his own knowledge concerning gold and his indomitable persverance were the prime elements. His discovery led to the famous “rush.” Read worked out part of his claim, and then went with Mr. James Robertson and others to prospect at Waipori and Waitahuna, and had he not been laid up by sickness, which necessitated his return for medical assistance, he would have been in the Dunstan district before Messrs Hartley and Riley made their page 392 famous finds. Read's letter of the 4th of June, 1861, to the Superintendent of Otago, was printed in the “Otago Witness,” and startled the quit village of Dunedin. The
The Late Mr. T. G. Read.

The Late Mr. T. G. Read.

news was thought too good, and passed off as a nine days' wonder, with such derisive comments, as “The man is mad,” “It's surely Gabriel, the angel.” As the discoverer of Otago's first payable goldfield, Read received £500, and a further sum of £500 was also voted to him in 1862, for further services, including the discovery of gold at Waitahuna. Read then left New Zealand, and returned to Tasmania, where he married the widow of a clergyman. He revisited Dunedin at the time of the first exhibition, but went back to Tasmania, and some time afterwards died in Sandy Bay Lunatic Asylum, near Hobart.