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Geology of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand : a report comprising the results of official explorations

From the Beginning of the Geological Survey to the Discovery of the West Coast Goldfields

page 1

From the Beginning of the Geological Survey to the Discovery of the West Coast Goldfields.

Before entering on the principal object of this Report, which is to present in a condensed form the main results of the topographical and geological surveys conducted by me since the latter part of the year 1860, in the Province of Canterbury, it may not be deemed superfluous if I offer a short narrative of my explorations, giving a somewhat detailed description of some of the journeys which were undertaken into those portions of the province, never before trodden by the foot of man. Such an account may be the more acceptable, as my other occupations will prevent me, at least for some time to come, from publishing as I had intended, a book in a more popular form on this subject. In this narrative I have very often quoted largely from former reports and other publications, thinking that I could not improve upon the descriptions and accounts which gave the first vivid impressions of the grand and sublime scenery with which the Southern Alps abound in every direction.

It was towards the end of 1860, when residing in Nelson, and occupied in preparing the results of the journey in the south-western portion of the Province of Nelson, undertaken on behalf of the Provincial Government for publication, that I received a letter from page 2his Honor W. S. Moorhouse, Esq., Superintendent of Canterbury requesting me to proceed as soon as convenient to that province, as he was anxious that I should make some geological detail examinations of the Mountain range which separates Port Lyttelton from the Canterbury plains. Through this range the tunnel for the Christchurch and Lyttelton railway, a truly gigantic undertaking, considering the growth of the settlement, had been projected, and after having been begun by some English contractors (Messrs. Smith and Knight), the contract after a few months was thrown up by that firm, principally owing to the fact that they had met with some specially hard basaltic rocks on the Lyttelton end of the projected tunnel.