About 3km from the little town named Waikaia (in the middle of nowhere) that I’ve posted about before, there’s the location of the older town that dates back to the gold mining days of the 1860s. The old town had to be moved three times because they kept siting it in the middle of gold rich territory! By 1880 the last site of the old town had been largely sluiced away and Waikaia had become the main supply depot for the miners. The name of the old town was Switzers (named after a bloke from Winchester, Hampshire UK named John Switzer). We visited this location where there is now an old church, mosaic cross, and relics from the gold days. There’s also walking tracks to old gold sites but we didn’t have the time to explore those.
Photos taken by Liz 20 Oct 2018 (except for the one I’m in – taken by Nigel)
I’m not certain of the significance of the date 1863. Initially I thought it was the establishment of Switzers but I’ve also seen mention of the deaths of about 30 miners in a severe storm in the Waikaia area in July 1863.
If you’re interested in the old gold mining history of this area including the Chinese miners, I’ve read part of a talk given by a descendant of a successful miner who had bought land in the area – the family farm was still in the same family at the time of the talk. The pdf also includes old photos. Here is the link to the pdf
For posts I’ve done that mention Waikaia click HERE
Text and Photos by Liz except one taken by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)