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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 1, Issue 5, December 1961


Early in 1852. three young men (Bachelor, Carter and Thorn), on a hunting expedition in the Dun Mountain area, found an ore that aroused their curiosity (1). They showed this to Mr Walter Long Wrey, a mining surveyor in Nelson, who stated that it was a copper ore. Mr Wrey visited the area and in May, 1852, in company with Mr W. T. L. Travers and Mr W. Wells, made further investigation and obtained a lease of the area (2).

After favourable reports on the area by Dr E. Davy, Government Analyst at Adelaide, the prospectus of the Cook Strait Mining Company was issued in October, 1852, with £56.000 capital in £1 shares, with Mr D. Sclanders, of Messrs Morrison and Sclanders, Mr E. W. Stafford and Mr W. R. Nicholson, merchant of Nelson, as honorary and provincial trustees (2).

After further investigations and reports, Mr Wrey was sent to England, arriving there in March, 1854, just at the time England had declared war on Russia. After consultation with Mr Alexander Morrison (the Company agent) and others in London, it was decided to raise £10,000 for preliminary expenditure and, owing to the dearth of experienced miners in Nelson, to send 26 officers and men out from London under Mr page ElevenWrey, with Mr J. How as second-in-command. It was stated that Mr Wrey, although far advanced in years, had stipulated that the payment made to him should be in shares in the projected company.

The 24 men consisted of navvies, smiths and carpenters, plus four miners, obtained with the assistance of a Cornish gentleman. After being entertained by the promotors at a farewell lunch at the Falcon Hotel, Gravesend, the party sailed for Nelson in the ship Sir Allen McNab, arriving here on August 8, 1855, and bringing with them the necessary gear and plant for starting operations. On arrival in Nelson they found that Travers and Wells had gone on with the development of the mine.