'Goldrush' to mark Grey 150th

By Laura Mills

Greymouth will return to its roots in July with a ‘goldrush’ to celebrate the town’s 150th anniversary.
On July 22, 1864, pioneer storekeeper Reuben Waite sailed across the Grey River bar, along with a boat full of diggers headed for the Greenstone goldfield. Among them were the Watson brothers, who along with two friends, started digging on the beach at Karoro, recovering 1800 ounces, the equivalent of $3 million in today’s money. That area is now known as Watsons Creek.
To celebrate the 150th, the Grey District Council has decided on a gold hunt on the beach between Watsons Creek and the Suburbs Rugby League ground, further north at Karoro.
Rather than burying gold, they will bury gold stones, entitling the finder to cash it in for the real thing.
“A minimum of 3oz of gold in 1oz lots will be available,” Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said today.
The council also wants businesses to come on board, with more stones entitling the finder to a lucky dip prize. Everything will be buried above the high tide mark.
The 150th weekend, July 26-27, will be promoted in Canterbury and organisers say there is the potential to make it into a large event.
The council is also working with West Coast Speedway, which has indicated it may run its major fireworks display for the weekend.
“We will also be encouraging shop owners to work a theme around their shops in that week,” Mr Kokshoorn said.