Long Hilly Walking Track
The Long Hilly Walking Track explores regenerating native bush and relics from the little-known days of early Chinese gold mining activity in Southland which was the largest Chinese settlement in New Zealand.
Gold was discovered in the area in the 1870’s however the Europeans first on the site abandoned it shortly after. A group of Chinese took over the site and established the township at Round Hill known as Canton. In 1891 the population consisted of around 50 Europeans and 350 Chinese.
A short extract from an article in the Southland Times, 27 February, 1891, provides a mental image of the township at the time (author unknown):
The town of Canton is somewhat peculiar in its general appearance. The buildings are varied (very) in design and mostly erected on one long straggling street or rather alley of about 15 feet in width. It can boast of a Presbyterian church, a joss house, three or four general stores (mostly kept by Chinamen) three or four saloons devoted, I fancy, to games of chance and the consumption of opium, and one hotel. There is also a billiard saloon which appeared to be well supported. But the evenings of the Cantonese seem to be spent chiefly in playing dominoes, with perhaps a little fan-tan while from all sides and from nearly every house ascended the fumes of an incense by no means greatful to European nostrils.
Source: National Library of New Zealand – Southland Times, 27 February, 1891 Accessed: 30 July, 2014
An intriguing collection of photographs of the sluicing process and township can be found on the University of Otago, Library website.
The walk passes various historic gold sluicing features along the California Creek and passes through a historic logging tramway cutting to old earth dams.
Long Hilly Walking Track:
(2 hours return)
The Long Hilly Walking Track starts at Round Hill Road, 35 kilometres south-east of Tuatapere.