This exhibition showcases some of the most significant documents created in the course of the administration of the Otago Gold Fields – from a letter announcing Gabriel Read’s momentous discovery of "payable" gold in 1861, to the Chinese Petition that demanded better access to justice for Chinese miners. Included alongside these seminal documents are records that help to tell the story of day-to-day life on the diggings.
In many ways, Otago, as we know it, is the product of gold and Caledonian tenacity. The influence that gold has had on the province can still be witnessed – from the ornate grandeur of Dunedin’s many historical buildings, to the dramatic, sweeping and utilitarian landscapes of Central Otago. Otago’s social, economic and bureaucratic fabric – woven with tales of luck, loss, tragedy and triumph – is indelibly linked to the Gold Fields of the 19th Century.