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THE LYELL.

ITS PAST HISTORY. {By an Old Wat Coaster in A»M«rtd* Mail.) Situateei on Lyell creek near 'the; banki of the Buller river, Xiyelly i* like its larger brother and neighbor, Beeftoni the offspring ot a gold rush, a poor lit'tle ,abandoned bastard of a golden mother* who,^has forgotten all about her children on the West; Coast of New Zealand. The towa incut out of tbe face of the hill-side, witji one! itreet looking down the next street's chimneys and into the small backyards,; and winding up till at tbe top of all lie the bodies of the happy released from thei Lyell in the cemetery, that appropriately crowns the happy scene, and may be impregnates the. tolls of; the survivors with the flavor 'of the 'dearlybeloved departed. The.Alpine ridge, in which are sovne once remunerative gold*reefs, lies about three miles from the township,-up a continued ascent 'of some thousands of feet, the quartz being sVntdbwn, a,1 stoot to the crusher in a paddock;a considerabledistance below. The ;Littie: Wonder'reef is thei other el dorado of JLyell, and like1 tf: vifitt'ed* Spendthrift it neither' piyii :jt-a ftir or j kiefep^ f .the promiseY vntfr $eg«in :pk$ l .n i .|uch a splash. Z The Lyell'. i( wh'en' : jttrfirst started was supposed to bea wonderful favorite* and was going; with the'Little^Woiader' reef, tostaTtle all thtf world^fa^a^bjfi^ Bendigo.. • .Qne.bundred bUiices of gold to the ion of quartz* were; ? tQ,,?ew*rd ri all: the volunteers L who r fiqcked-r^ It came" down from in rbg^red ounces to a few pennyweights,, or worse still, to the pleasing Sum of nothing p~«'r ton return, and the Alpine reef, its second great renture, never returned more than three or four ounces to the ton, and very soon declined even that amount. My own experience of the place as an enterprising joarnallst cpin-t me need between five and six years ago, when finding that the poor benighted;beings congregated there were dragging a miserable existence without the necessary support of life in these days, a newspaper1,1 offered to start one for them. I promised that on that day week, the Saturday following, <.% would start the Lyell Argus, and deliver it in the town for them. 1, Of course, the left eyes of one half of my listefiew clpsjid incredulously, and the tongues ,of ;otW half were thruit into.; the corresponding n umber of cheeks, while the mysterious •word "bosh" was heard in '• various directions. I in. a fewdays collected sufficient materials for the advertiiement columns and a page of general uews. Then, having written ai introductory leading article, I; moun'ed my horse on1 the Fridays and galloped off to 'Reefton, c thirty-five milesj away, where there w^as :( a-journal in fullj operation. Dashing into; the office of the Inangalua Herald at 7 o'clock, I gave orders to find the paper, and have the type set at once. At 2 o'clock in the morhing, the copies of the Lyell Argus were handed, over to me, and in the midst of a , drizzling shower, and a gale of wind, I Btarted off with my load to! ride back to; Lyelljand keep my promise. Tearing along, regardless of all inconveniences, in the, excitement of success, I reached the bank* of the deep, and broad river, about half-past 9, and by. the' aid of the ferryman I crossed safely? When J arrived, all sbivenng and,.^et Jo the skin, but all triumphant with my first issue of the Lyell Argus, I was greeted with a hearty cheer, and a bottle of champagne was brought out to welcymß/tHe\'litU(B^itra&^fllr-. Tor six weeks this primitive mode of bringing out a papery was contjaa«d >( and I had to ride in from Beefton, through wet and cold and dreary trackless country,-whether' it might be pitch dark or moonlight;1 with my load of. papera; fording';' jfch^b^i&'-'creeks over the saddle flaps in water,^and ferrying the river.. My,type and pres^and other plant for carrying on the Argus in< Lyell properly arrived in the boat by nthe Buller river. In those days the poiterage- of all goods arriving at Lyell by the river to their destination in the town was effected,by winding up the face of the bank's of .the river and the hills beyond, and a class of engaging,individuals rejoicing in the musical name of "lumpers" devoted themselves entirely. Jo this business,, and a very good time they had of it., On finding my way down,,to the river bank,, there Jay tay'cases all,about, and I was told that the price for carrying these cases up to the town would be £10, and not one farthing less. I, objected that the terms were quite unreasonable, and; out of the question. But' there,came a very deep and artful old hand, well up in all the small cunning dodges on,, which old hapds pride themselves, and r heJust whispered to me with one,hand M up ,fco his mquth,J l aß,,he winked in demoniac style^: , '* Look ye here, I'll tell you what to, do. Jjnat get 'em to work the job at bo much! ajttlibnr,,that's ( all) ye see." Well,l tried,it.in despair, f th^ugh almost inclined to aband^bnithQw.hble undertaking, and tb; m£ mpMM fflffXfa building engaged M J^ nffieft of M th J?J my good fnends the Jf^pers, and f fyo were surprised to discover, that I.wa^ihe £2 ss, sugar pound ?^ft tt«^ lOfl per pound. But it™ easy^come easy go with the digger^ whiip ( , ( tbe jgopp^t^cpea lasted, and it was cuatomirywith tbe'successful man to bring in^s bpfcUe of generaily a small medicine 'hotite? tpat of the pam-killer being the generai,.fav6nte and the largest, and, sticking ,thi§ ( dowu pn the counter;Ihs ! &^ take it but o' that' for tißi and his chums, and let him know when.it,was ione. 'At 1b per nbbhler,' it wais nbt'generally long before the bottle was declare^ bankrupt by. the landlord, who, depend upon.it, was not such a fool as to discount gold! fpr nothing' Thin sort of extravagance amongst'itle' iou^lhm membeps, and champ'»g^i; it guinea..'« bottle, for breakfast, dinner, t«a, and, supper,

with trips to Melbourne or England lor the " wiitocracyi" soon knocked/xlbwr> ' ;;th!ept-6-ceedi of the brighter times, and; h ft' bu f little tp confront t\\e reyerae with-.when it came, so that very few have, realised; a furtune among the inhabitants of Lyell, though ■everal men have made considerable fortunes for a time, which; they', \haTe afterwards either lost or thrown away, I Bold the Argui to Mr J. G. Niven; who had formerly been a ichoolmaster. He worked hard at it, and'paid off his debts to.me,Jbut he fouiid the expeneesof working it more than thereiurn, and he prepared to' give it up, bukWoulds find no buyer. , One,of,his crediton, a< grocer in> the "town, had claims on the Tp*ojjerty for about: £20, ;and took' a Bmairfireiii 'ah<fpart df^hq type as security. Ttiei?,,,w{th: the, copyright of the, papery were fold to a Mr Metcalf, (who; was- also formerly a-schoolmaster. The ■ ne\V'"<proprietor was neither a printer!or journalist, but with a staff of one small boy; he started to work the Argus himself; 'The size' was reduced toVa'quarter sheet, one side was left blank, arid a few advertisements filled up the other,, aide,, with,, a : few .scrapsl. of stale newi that,'occasionally foand.their way to the Ly ell.? The typewasJeetf up any-how, upiide dowii, slanting;iwith 1 capitals brought in anyw-herei; ju^'t; I;aß'jit 'struck'::the;aetter, ' were joined^togstjieji;;or cut iri half,^d, stops inmted in an exceedingly wild and ferocious butchery, ofr the English ; language, while sometimes the ink was dabbed on too lib>rally and sometimes^ forgot^en^ileaving whole ■ehiericea blank. "And so" remarkable a specimen of journalism..ha* the \ Lyell Argus become, that a copy of it was sent to the Sydney museum as a sample of the press in the savage yoUng Colony '-'of- New Zealand. Hoire?er,,,even r thiß rough-and-ready journ'aliW found a sale in a place where, there was ,npn.eiother, and I am toldjieltla a return ;of £5 to £6 per week. ' Lyell'rstillgoes on waiting for something to , turn; up, though many" Jinipfbvements1 have been effected in the,-: approaches^ and by good., dray roads connecting it with Nelsony and other^townsj great reductions have been made on the exorbitant prices of provisions and clothing that formerly prevailed,,'and; prevented dig: geri ' from.;; living. Things, though rough; enough in all conscience even now, are not quite io primitive as in the days of my early acquaintance with the towii;1 Nor are we so1 completely "deniedtneprivileges1 of cir'iU-: zatjop v *itobe.obliged to chain our prisoners and offenders against the law to old stumps and logs, for want of a'lock-up.as in the old' days, of only a few .years, The,hand. that itarned back the shadow upon "the* sun-; , dial %ak^ Lyell ,a. thriving ;tp,wn yet,: 'but it does not,look/as; ; if ; any Jesietinfluence could effect such a miracle. ;

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Bibliographic details

THE LYELL., Colonist, Volume XXII, Issue 2567, 26 June 1879

Word Count
1,452

THE LYELL. Colonist, Volume XXII, Issue 2567, 26 June 1879

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