Town on the banks of the Īnangahua River, 79 km from both Greymouth and Hokitika. The first gold-bearing quartz reefs near Reefton were discovered in 1870, and gold was extracted by 1872. From 1872 to 1951 over 4 million tonnes of quartz were mined in the Reefton area, producing 64,700 kilograms of gold. Although there were 59 mines, only 11 produced more than half a tonne. Although Reefton is traditionally associated with gold mining, all of the mines had closed by 1951, and coal mining and forestry became more significant. Walter Prince, an English electrical engineer, installed a 1-kilowatt electrical plant to light Dawson’s Hotel in 1886. By 1888 a hydroelectric plant was installed to provide lighting in Reefton – said to be the first town in the southern hemisphere to be lit by electricity.

Meaning of place name
Reefton is the only place on the West Coast where quartz reefs (after which it is named) have been successfully mined apart from Lyell. Originally called Reeftown, the name was shortened to Reefton (and sometimes nicknamed Quartzopolis).

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