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Chapter I.--First Sight of New Zealand--Dunedin--Up-Country--Travelling with Sheep............1
Chapter II..--Starting for the Lake District--The Natural Bridge of the Kawarau River--Nearly Drowned--Crossing the Dunstan Mountains--The Promised Land of Rees--Arrival at Lake Wakatipu...........9
Chapter III.--The Home Station--New Hands--Building Mr Rees' House--Few's Folly--Drowning of John Gilbert--Tobacco Famine--Sunday Work and Prayers..........22
Chapter IV.--Wild Dogs--Camping Out--Prospecting for a Road--Start--Moke Lake--Bob's Cove--A Race up Hill--Grand Scenery--Simpson's Creek--Mount Alfred--The Bucklerburn--The First Hut at the Head of the Lake...........32
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Chapter V.--Bucklerburn Station--Traces of Maoris--A Primitive Chimney--Rats--Starved Out--Shearing--Maori Singing--Return to the Head Station...........48
Chapter VI.--The Devils Staircase--Journey down Country--Back to the Lake again--Death of Caesar--Nearly Starved...........61
Chapter VII.--Welcome Little Stranger--Alerting an Old Friend--The Wreck--Drowning of Mr Rodgers--A Gallant--Saved by a Dog--Rewards for Bravery...........69
Chapter VIII.--A Plague of Mice--Buccaneer--First Diggers on the Lake--Panning out a Trial Dish--Felling an Obstructionist--"Rough and Tumble"...........78
Chapter IX.--The Nokomai--Chaffing the Loafers--Arthur and Harry Redfern--Bucklerburn again--England, Home and Beauty............86
Chapter X.--A Native of County Cork--A Biting Sheep--Serving out Flour--An Irish Row--Cockatoo Jack--One-Eyed Jimmy--Thatcher's Songs.........93
Chapter XI.--Last News of the --Mr Anthony Trollope's Opinion of the Wakatipu--Conclusion............106
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IN the following pages I have given an account of the first settlement of the Wakatipu Lake district, in New Zealand, a district now so well known for the wealth of its gold fields, the grandeur of its scenery, and the salubrity of its climate.
This is not intended to be a history of the rise and progress of the district, but simply a short account of the wild, rough life which we pioneers had to lead in the early days.
I have been materially assisted in my undertaking by copious notes taken by me during the years following that in which I took up my residence on the shores of the Wakatipu Lake, and also by letters which I had then written to my relatives, and which, having been preserved, were handed over to me when the object which I had in view was made known.
Many other episodes in the lives of the pioneers I might have given, but, as I was somewhat dubious about minor details, I left these out, and have only given such as there can be no doubt about; and, as
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most of the early settlers are still alive, they will be able to corroborate everything herein stated.
What I have placed on record may be called an unwritten page of history, and I have closed my narrative when, gold having been discovered, the district became overrun with diggers and the old Wakatipians lost their identity in the crowd of fortune-hunters.
To the many tourists now annually visiting the lovely shores of the Wakatipu Lake, it may be of interest to know how we pioneers lived, and why the hills and rivers and lakes received the names by which they are known.
I have given the names, not only of those who actually were the very first who settled in the district, but also of those who, coming into Mr Rees' service during the years previous to the "gold rush," are entitled to a place in these pages.
As I am convinced that a great future lies before the Wakatipu district, I trust that my efforts to preserve from oblivion facts connected with the first settlement thereof may be of service hereafter, when a history may be called for of what was known to us as the "Promised Land of Rees."