Events In History


Maungatapu murders, 1866

  • Maungatapu murders, 1866

    The 'Burgess gang' murdered and thieved their way around the South Island during the 1860s. Their most notorious crime was five killings over two days in June 1866, on the Maungatapu track near Nelson. Now you can read their story in a virtual comic book.

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  • Page 2 – The Burgess gang

    Richard Burgess, the gang's ringleader, originally known as Richard Hill, had been transported from London to Melbourne for theft at the age of 16, arriving in 1847

  • Page 3 – The crimes

    In May 1866 the Burgess gang embarked on a crime spree on the west coast of the South Island that would culminate in the murder of five men on the Maungatapu Track.


  • Waiuta

    Today Waiuta is a West Coast ghost town. But from 1906 to 1951 it was the company town for the South Island's largest gold mine and home to 600 people. The superb photographs of Czech immigrant Joseph Divis provide a fascinating glimpse of Waiuta in its heyday.

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  • Page 2 – The Blackwater mine

    A small prospecting group discovered a gold-bearing quartz reef in the upper reaches of Blackwater Creek, a tributary of the Grey River, on 9 November 1905. 

  • Page 3 – The town of Waiuta

    As more houses were built, Waiuta started to look less like a mining camp. It always had the appearance, though, of a frontier town dominated by wood and corrugated iron.

  • Page 4 – From boom to bust

    The outbreak of the Second World War led to a gradual decline in the number of miners.