A Conspiracy to Silence: Reports of Otago gold prior to 1861

TitleA Conspiracy to Silence: Reports of Otago gold prior to 1861
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCarpenter, L. W.
JournalJournal of Australasian Mining History
Volume12
Issue1
Start Page23
Pagination44
Date Published10/2014
Abstract

Much of Otago goldfields history begins with the idea that a ruling class of newspaper-owning, ‘Old Identity’ settlers paternalistically subverted news of Otago gold finds to hold back the morally-corrupting influence of the ‘New Iniquity’ of gold miners. However, a search of newspaper articles before 1860 reveals gold being found – and reported – across the province from the first years of settlement. The newspaper editors, albeit after an initial fear of the ‘mania’ of gold rushes, held nothing back from their readers. This article discusses the events leading up to the ‘official’ recognition of the Otago gold rush, examines the historiography of the ideas of newspaper cover-ups and compares the situation in America and Australia, and reaches a new conclusion about gold reports in New Zealand.