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Charleston and its newspaper appeared as the direct and immediate result of a major gold discovery in 1867, about 30km south of Westport on the West Coast. Gold was also discovered at Brighton, 10 miles to the south, the same year. The 1867 census showed that the fields at Charleston and Brighton had a combined population of about 11,000. There were also 53 hotels at Brighton or nearby and a further 37 at Charleston.

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