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8. Charles and George Cosstick

Henry, William and John Cosstick spent most of their time working around Amherst. While Henry and William seem to have attracted a fair amount of publicity in local newspapers, and left traces of their lives in a multitude of official documents, Charles and George have remained something of a mystery with comparatively little documentation remaining.

Charles Cosstick

Charles Cosstick was born at Croydon, Surrey in 1841. His brother George was born at Croydon in 1833.

There is a baptism record in the St John the Baptist register for George Caustick dated 8 December 1833 (with parents Samuel and Mary Caustick) . There is a second baptism record in the St John the Baptist register for George Cosstick(with parents Samuel and Mary Cosstick) dated 12 September 1841. However the George who was born in 1833 did not die until 1868. All other supporting documentation indicates a birth year of 1833 for George and 1841 for Charles. As there is no subsequent evidence for George being born in 1841 it seems likely that the 1841 baptism listing probably should have been for Charles.

Their older brother, William, travelled to the Victorian goldfields from Surrey in 1852. George Cosstick arrived in Melbourne on the Appleton on 27 April 1853 with the eldest brother Henry Cosstick and Henry's wife Sophia, having left London on 22 January 1853. The passenger list for the Appleton gave George’s age as 19.

Liking what they saw in Victoria, William returned to Croydon to get Charles aged 15, and John aged 20, in 1856. They left London on 1 September 1856 on board the Anglesey and travelled to Plymouth before making the southward voyage to Melbourne, where they arrived on 9 December 1856.

For some years after arriving in Australia Charles accompanied his brothers at Amherst, and was present when John married Mary Ann Hamilton at Amherst in 1861.

On Monday 9 March 1863 the Argus reported that

The Steamship Aldinga, having undergone an extensive overhall, and having her hull repainted, was launched from the Government patent slip early on Saturday morning last, and having her compasses adjusted, she was berthed alongside the Hobsons Bay Railway Pier.

The Aldinga sailed on Tuesday 10 March bound for Otago with 170 passengers .

Steam Ship Aldinga 1864The Aldinga (on right) entering Otago harbour in 1864.

The Aldinga, commanded by John Stewart, was a 500 ton steamer which travelled between Melbourne, Otago, Port Chalmers, Bluff Harbour and Invercargill in New Zealand . It arrived at Port Chalmers six days later on 17 March . Steamers took five or six days for the voyage, compared to seven or eight days by schooner or brig . Since the Aldinga began the Melbourne to New Zealand run in 1862 the people of the Port Chalmers had become quite familiar with the sleek steamer, its twin funnels, three masts and Blue Emu Line flag .

After remaining at Port Chalmers for two days the Aldinga left Otago at six o’clock on the evening of Wednesday 18 March bound for Bluff Harbour with nine cabin passengers and another sixty in the steerage. It was carrying the relatively small amount of 300 ounces of gold dust from the Tuapeka diggings.

The Aldinga left Bluff Harbour at half past nine on the morning of Thursday 19 March and, after several days of fine weather and a light head wind, arrived at the Hobsons Bay Railway Pier at five o’clock on the morning of Monday 23 March 1863. On 27 March the Aldinga continued its voyage to Adelaide, arriving there a day later.

Among the steerage passengers who disembarked at Station Pier in March 1863 was Charles Cosstick, age 28, returning to Melbourne after spending some time at the Tuapeka diggings. Charles was actually 21 or 22 at the time, but the transcription could be in error.

New Zealand

There is a record of an H.Costick, aged 30, returning to Melbourne from New Zealand on board the Aldinga II in October 1862 - however Henry would have been at least 41 in 1862 and local reports suggest that he was engaged in activities at Amherst. Charles Cosstick would have been 20 and George would have been 30. However, despite the age discrepancy, it could well have been Henry returning from a quick trip to New Zealand.

Perhaps discussions between the four Cosstick brothers at Amherst, John, Charles, Henry and William had decided that Henry and Charles should visit the new field.

They did that and then returned to Victoria - Henry on board the Aldinga II in October 1862, having a wife and other commitments at Amherst, and Charles on board the Aldinga in March 1863. [Although other shipping records suggest that there was only the one ship called Aldinga rather than two] They would not have been the only ones to do this. For example, Daniel McCluskey had come to Victoria from Ireland in 1854, then went on to investigate the Tuapeka field in 1861. Satisfied with what he found he returned to Victoria and took his wife and family back to New Zealand on the Aldinga a short time later.

Returning to Melbourne on 23 March 1863, Charles reported back to his brothers at Amherst. William and Henry decided they would stay, having established a successful business in the district. Henry was also becoming more involved in community activities. John and Mary Ann decided they would go. [There is more about the decision to go to the New Zealand goldfields in the chapter about John and Mary Ann Cosstick]

No time was to be lost. It would already have been almost the end of March by the time Charles arrived back at Amherst. Charles, his brother John and Mary Ann, with their two young children, decided to leave Amherst almost immediately. They disembarked from Melbourne on board the steamship Omeo on 16 April 1863. However, the journey from Melbourne to Port Chalmers wasn't quite as smooth as they might have expected.

The Otago Witness of 2 May 1863 quoted a Melbourne report from the Daily Times of 21 April.

The genius of ill-luck almost seems to brood over our mail service, for although the mail steamer armed here in capital time, and the steamship Omeo left not very long afterwards, yet the adverse weather which she experienced soon after leaving the Heads, eventually compelled her to return, so that a delay of fully three days has been occasioned. I should not be at all surprised if the City of Hobart arrive before the Omeo, for of the many good qualities the Omeo has, great speed is not one of them.

After three days delay due to bad weather the Omeo finally left Melbourne on the 20th and arrived at Otago on the 29th of April 1863. The Omeo left for Melbourne again on 5 May.

Waitahuna Electoral Roll - Otago Witness 9 May 1863A week before they arrived the Otago Witness had published a roll of would-be electors who had lodged a claim during January, February or March 1863 to be listed as electors for the parliamentary District of Bruce, which took in Tuapeka. The names of John and Charles Cosstick were listed on the basis that they had a Miner’s Right, were living at Waitahuna, and that the claim was attested to by James Duke, a householder of the district. The notice had been published on three consecutive weeks with an invitation to any objectors to lodge their complaint.

It seems likely that Charles Cosstick had registered their names earlier in the year during his first visit to the district so as to avoid missing the 31 March deadline.

On 9 May 1863 a list of objections was published. Both John and Charles Cosstick were listed as being unqualified for inclusion on the Electors Roll. What had happened was that in early February 1863, the House of Assembly, alarmed at the growing numbers of miners in the provincet had decided to repeal the Miners' Franchise Act under the provisions of which John and Charles Cosstick, and hundreds of others, would have been entitled to vote.

The Otago Witness of 14 February 1863 argued in favour of the miners retaining the right to vote and pointed out that many who had registered in 1862 were already listed on the electoral roll and could not legally be removed from it. It seems that John and Charles Cosstick had only just submitted their claim to be enrolled, but even so, in again arguing in favour of the miners the Otago Witness of 7 March 1863 quoted a promise to miners that if they purchaed a Miner's Right before the end of March 1863 they would be entitled to vote.

Charles was later included on the Electoral Roll as a leaseholder, however John either never applied again or was unqualified for some other reason.

The election in April was for the local Superintendant of the district. The Otago Witness reported that

The Electoral Roll contains 1896 names. Of these many are dead or absent from the Province, and a large number appear several times on the list for different properties for which they have qualified; but, of course, only had the right to vote once. Close on to a thousand votes were recorded, and when the circumstances we have mentioned are taken into consideration, we believe this to be exceedingly close voting

It would seem that the listing of dead and absent voters was a problem that lasted for many years.

Tuapeka and Waitahuna

It was at the centre of the Tuapeka diggings that the town of Lawrence had developed. The town was locally known as Tuapeka.

A few years later, in mid 1872, the English writer, Anthony Trollope, visited Tuapeka. In describing his visit he said:

I should have liked Tuapeka had it not snowed so bitterly on me when I was there.

It had taken him five hours to travel by coach the last twelve miles into Lawrence. Nevertheless he did find “an excellent inn, and a very good dinner” when he got there.

Panning for Gold in New ZealandThe winters at Tuapeka were notoriously cold and bitter. In April 1863 the Majorca News reporting news from Waitahuna, which had recently arrived on the Aldinga, stated that many diggers were leaving the gold fields before the winter settled in. One reason for many leaving, apart from the cold, was that it was estimated to cost about £300 to survive winter at Waitahuna “stores being likely to rise to famine prices”. However, winter at Waitahuna was nothing like the “dreaded winter at the lake” further inland and higher up in the mountains .

Despite the cold, or perhaps because it was even colder further inland, the Cossticks settled at the town of Waitahuna, or Havelock as it was officially known, some eleven miles to the east of Lawrence. The population of Waitahuna in May 1863 was reported to have been 658 miners and 220 others – perhaps a relatively small number for a gold field, but it was the middle of winter.

Waitahuna Cricket match - Otago Witness 2 April 1864As soon as the winter passed both Charles and John Cosstick became active members of the Waitahuna Cricket Club with Charles being appointed Captain of the team. A match between Waitahuna and Tuapeka early in April 1864 was played on a pitch that was reported by the Otago Witness as being “situated on the spur of a hill, and though the pitch is pretty fair, the high grass and steep slope of the ground… renders the place quite unfit for a cricket ground.” While John and Charles Cosstick are listed as members of the Waitahuna team, there was also a G. Cosstick listed on the Tokomairiro side. It seems that their brother George may have been there with them. More details about John and Mary Ann Cosstick and their family at Havelock can be read in another chapter.

The Otago Witness of the 1st of October 1864 gave a report on the progress of Waitahuna.

Mining at Waitahuna - Otago Witness 1 October 1864
Mining operations are progressing steadily. There is nothing to cause excitement, yet an average number of sluicing parties are doing; well. That there is, in this district, a wide field for the gold digger, it is not unreasonable to suppose; that there may be other districts better worth the attention of miners at the present time, it is not my intention to decide. Our principal workings are situated in the main gully and in the vicinity of the Waitahuna bridge. About 100 miners are employed in the main gully, and about fifty at the bridge, and say fifty more in various places within three miles from the main gully. The supply of water is fully occupied in the main gully — a larger supply would be acceptable, and should dry weather set in mining operations will be seriously retarded. Wheel barrows are now much used and an amount of work done which was little thought of some twelve months ago. Now for the locality of the bridge, where many acres of land more or less auriferous await the labors of the miner, during the last few months three parties of about eight each, have been cutting channels and forming dams for the purpose of working certain portions of the river with every prospect of favorable returns.

An instance of perseverance and industry is shown in another place below the bridge. Two men have cut a tail race some 600 yards in length, and covered some parts over to prevent damage from the sides falling in. Some portions of the ground through which they cut were 15 or 16 feet deep. Another extensive tail race has been dug near Morgan's Bridge Hotel.

Another good sign of progress is the erection of the first water-wheel worked at Waitahuna. After much hard up hill work the enterprising party have got the wheel to work the pump, which keeps the ground as dry as a nut, as one of the party said. Success to the Pioneer wheel, there is room for more.

In agricultural matters we are far behind our large neighbor Tuapeka. Gardens are now receiving some little attention, but with one or two exceptions we have no corn farming. In soil and climate, Waitahuna offers an equal field for agriculture with Tuapeka, but the want of fencing materials will always be felt.

Canada Reef

On 9 August 1862 the Otago Witness reported from their Tokomairiro correspondent that

Map of Waitahuna District
I am informed also, that two rich and extensive quartz reefs have been discovered in the neighborhood of the Canada Bush, about nine miles from the centre of the plain. I have seen the discoverer, and he showed me a number of very fine specimens — nuggets mixed with quartz, and varying in size from about half-dwt to an ounce. They seemed to have been exposed to the action of fire, and to have been broken off the reef. The man states that they are very rich reefs, and about five miles from each other. The richest one, he states, is about two miles from Canada Bush, and one mile from Smith's shepherd's hut.

The shepherd's hut belonged to James Smith who was the owner of land a few miles north of Tokomairiro.

On 23 August 1862 the Otago Witness reported that

The proclamation of the extended gold field is a great boon to the Woolshed diggers. The new field includes a considerable portion of the Tokomairiro Plain, but does not include the Canada Bush, where the reported new quartz reefs are. In my next I hope to be able to send you further particulars as to these reefs. Should they turn out, as it seems probable they will, a further extension of the gold field will be necessary.

The Woolshed also belonged to James Smith.

And later in the same edition

In a late letter of our Tokomairiro Reporter an allusion was made to the reefs near Canada Bush, in which it was stated that the spot was not within the Gold Fields boundaries. We learn that our correspondent was in error, for it appears that Canada Bush is within the boundaries of the extended gold fields, as it is situated to the "south of the north branch of the Tokomairiro River," as per proclamation.

The new goldfield was was relatively quiet until nearly three years later when, on 29 April 1865

We give the following on the authority of the Bruce Herald — "In our last issue we mentioned that two men had sold some gold here, obtained in the neighbourhood of Canada Bush. A large number of people have since visited the place, and a good many have remained to work. We have no wish to create a rush, but we believe that those who are working there are doing pretty well, and there is a likelihood of the place proving a permanent and lucrative field."

Several months passed then on 17 November 1865

About three years ago, there was some little excitement caused in this neighborhood by the reported existence of a quartz reef somewhere in the vicinity of the Canada Bush. Numerous detached parties of miners were then, and have been ever since working in the gullies between that, Waitahuna, Woolshed, and Tokomairiro, and everywhere gold has been found in large or small quantities. In fact, the color is obtainable everywhere, and there appeared strong grounds for the belief that a veritable reef did exist in the locality. The exact position, however, was a matter of doubt, and, as no reliable information on this point could be obtained, the fact of the discovery was discredited, and although many people tried very hard, and spent considerable labor in searching for the reef, no result followed.

A few weeks ago the rumor was revived, and it was soon ascertained that a mining lease of ten acres had been applied for and taken up by a Waitahuna company. Since that time, two other adjoining blocks, of five and ten acres respectively, have been applied for and taken up. The original discoverer really found the reef some three years and a half ago, but not being then in a position to profit by his discovery, he said very little about it, although, of course, something did leak out. Since that time he has been working at up-country digging ; but, returning a few weeks ago to Waitahuna, he made known his discovery to five others, and, in conjunction with them, took up the ten-acre lease

On Monday last, I visited the place. Starting from Tokomairiro by the Canada Bush road, an easy ride of about seven miles and a half brought me to the place. A small excavation showed the reef plainly. The cap, composed of bastard stone, and about four feet through, is about three feet below the surface. Then the true reef commences, running E. by N., W. by S. It is three feet four inches thick, and is embedded in blue slate rock, which dips towards it. The stone is true quartz, and bears a close resemblance to that of the Clunes reef in Victoria. The prospectors have sunk some eighteen feet alongside the reef, and it appears to run straight down. A drive through it below showed the same thickness as above. Gold is plainly distinguishable with the naked eye in almost every piece of stone broken from the reef. In the samples taken from below, it is apparently more plentiful than in that from the top. The gold is very fine, and it is estimated that the stone will yield from seven to twelve dwts. per ton. A shoot of a few hundred yards will convey the stone from the tunnel which it is intended to drive along the reef, to the river, below where there is plenty of wood for burning, and where there is also ample water power t» work the crushing machinery. I believe that it is probable that the parties who have taken up claims on the reef will amalgamate, and form a joint-stock company. Steps have already been taken towards obtaining the requisite machinery to work the reef. In the opinion of experienced men, the Canada reef is likely to prove the richest yet discovered in this Province; and l am sure that all my readers will cordially join with me in wishing that it may prove so, and amply reward the industry and perseverance of the discoverers."

And on 24 November 1865

Mr Warden Charles Worthington in his official report, from Waitabuna, of November 11th, remarks:— " Three applications for leases have been made on the quartz reef in Canada Bush, and as the reef has been struck in each claim, and found to be of the width of five feet, with fine gold equally distributed through it, the parties contemplate a successful issue to their undertakings. Bread, 1s 3d per 4lb loaf; sugar, 5d to 7d per lb; meat, 8d to 10d per lb."

It appears that some of the land was proclaimed a goldfield in February 1865 and mining applications invited, and then in April 1865 part of it was changed from being a goldfield and was offered for sale as agricultural land.

This caused some confusion and miners were still applying for leases, and being granted them, on the land that had become designated agricultural. Not surprisingly a dispute arose and in January 1866 the Provincial Council was obliged to conduct an enquiry into the application by John Hardy to purchase some land on which miners were prospecting. John Hardy, a government official, already owned some neighbouring land and when he read reports of gold at Canada Reef he approached James Smith.

At the subsequent enquiry James Smith gave evidence.

Otago Witness 12 January 1866
On the 14th of November (Tuesday), Mr Hardy came to my house, with his son; my wife was present. Mr Hardy said he was a Government official, and partly come on Government business, to enquire about the reef, and that Mr Pyke was shortly coming to look at the reef. Mr Hardy said he had seen a statement in the paper, that the reef would not go more than seven to fifteen pennyweights to the ton; and that if it did not go more than that, we might as well give it up. I took him over to the prospecting shaft, at his request, and I told him that, in my opinion, the quartz would go from one to two ounces to the ton; but we did not want to say anything about it till we got the lease. I gave him some stone, and his son went down the shaft. He said he would have the stone tested, and help us, if he could, towards getting machinery through the bank. On the 19th of the same month, Mr Hardy's overseer came to me, and said Mr Hardy had sent him to get some stone, and I sent him over to my mate Cosstich, and they got some stone out of the shaft. The reef, in my opinion, runs nearly east by north, and west by south, and has been traced all through section 7, from the dip above the river to the crown of the hill, where the track divides sections 7 and 1. I showed Mr Hardy the line, and he said it crossed through his land. This was on the 14th November.

It is not clear from the evidence and reports whether James Smith was the owner of a large property in the area, and whose Shepherds Hut and Woolshed was referred to in an earlier reports of gold discoveries, or a prospector who had pegged out a claim – there were a number of people by the name of James Smith on the electoral roll for the district.

In his statement James Smith refers to his “mate Cosstich”. There is no record of any person by that name in all of Otago during the 1860s and it seems likely that this would have been one of the Cosstick brothers – Charles or John - their surname, as usual, being misspelt. There are a number of instances of the 'k' being turned into an 'h'.

John Hardy subsequently put in an application to purchase the land through which the reef ran – he knew it was available for sale and now knew that it contained payable gold - while the gold diggers thought it was part of the goldfields. But Hardy claimed in his application that he merely wanted it to complete his agricultural holdings. The enquiry subsequently annulled Hardy’s application and restored the area to the goldfields. Hardy later stood as a candidate for the Provincial Council - and lost convincingly.

In the meantime, Charles and John Cosstick continued to look for gold and continued to play cricket for the Waitahuna team against teams from Tuapeka, Wetherstons and Tokomairiro.


While John and Mary Ann Cosstick were kept busy with not only the two young children they had brought with them from Amherst, but also with the almost constant new additions to their family, Charles was free to explore the attractions of the district, as well as the gold.

He might have felt he had discovered gold when he met twenty-six year old Catherine Young, from Cavan, Ireland. Catherine was working as a servant at Lawrence. Charles and Catherine married at the Presbyterian Church in the town of Lawrence on 12 June 1866. It is not known whether she had come to New Zealand alone or with her family. It is possible that she had responded to the advertisements for 'Single Females' that both the Australian and New Zealand colonies were advertising for back in England, Scotland and Ireland.

Marriage entry for charles Cosstick and Catherine YoungThe officiating minister at their marriage was the Presbyterian minister, Reverend Doctor James Copeland, who had arrived at Lawrence in April 1865. His ordination in May 1865 had been regarded as an event of great importance in the community and his presence was greeted with considerable enthusiasm. Copeland remained at Lawrence until 1872 . There was apparently no Church of England on the Tuapeka goldfields before January 1867 and it was only after a meeting of Episcopalians in December 1866 that steps were taken to appoint a permanent minister to the district. It seems that there was no church of any kind at Havelock at the time Charles and Catherine married.

The witnesses to Charles and Catherine’s marriage were Matthew and Elizabeth Potts, Hotelkeepers of Lawrence, New Zealand. The Potts had purchased a quarter of an acre of land at Lawrence and were licensees of the Victoria Hotel, a corrugated iron building, and operators of the Victoria Livery Stables in Lawrence during the 1860s . The horses used by the Cobb and Company coaches were housed at Matthew Potts’ stables during the early 1870s. The excellent hotel and meal that Anthony Trollope experienced at Lawrence in 1872 may have been the Victoria Hotel.

Local Politics

Like his older brother Henry, Charles may have also became active in local politics. The central government was planning various changes on the goldfields, mainly to do with agricultural leases on the goldfields. Some of the proposals were welcome but others not so - such as the plan to take away the management of goldfields from the Provincial Councils.

The Otago Witness of 4 May 1867 reported the following in its Public Meetings column.

Report of Public Meeting at Waitahuna - Otago Witness 4 May 1867
A public meeting was held at Costick's Bridge Hotel, Waitahuna, on Friday morning, the 26th inst. at 10 o'clock. Although but an hour's notice was given, there were fifty persons present. Mr Costick was in the chair. Messrs Heath and Irving spoke at considerable length, condemning the conduct of the General Government; and the following resolutions were passed unanimously with acclamation:

Proposed by Mr Heath, seconded by Cousons — "That this meeting protests against Mr Pyke and the General Government taking action today in reference to Agricultural Leases, in the Waitahuna Camp."

Proposed by Mr Anderson, seconded by Mr Heath — "That this meeting do support Messrs Hughes, Brown, and Mollison, in reference to the hearing of Agricultural Leases, at the Camp, today."

Proposed by Mr Irving, seconded by Mr Spillard — "That this meeting thanks the Provincial Government for the prompt action taken in supporting the Superintendent of the country."

So large a number met at the Schoolhouse, in the afternoon at 2 o'clock, that an adjournment to the open air was found necessary. Mr J. Vogel, MLP.C. M.ELR. addressed the meeting, and the following resolutions were passed:

"1. That this meeting protests against the action taken by the General Government, and will support the Superintendent, Provincial Government and Council to the utmost, in restraining it."

"2. That the co-operation of the whole of the Goldfields should be invited, and that copies of these resolutions be as widely distributed as possible."

In the evening at 8 o'clock a meeting, was held in the Schoolhouse. About 200 persons were present, and Mr Duke was unanimously chosen chairman. After stating that the object of the meeting was to consider the action of the General Government in regard to the Goldfields management.

It was proposed by Mr Irving: — "That in the opinion of this meeting the conduct of the General Government is highly impolitic and very injurious, in taking the management of the Goldfields from the Provincial Government."

He was very glad that such a crisis had arrived, as it would tend to show in its true colors the policy which the General Government had hitherto been pursuing with regard to the Goldfields. It "was another argument in favor of Separation; the General Government were attempting to drive the miners to extremities, and they were fastly succeeding. The Superintendent was powerless to act for the miners, as the General Government had rendered him incapable of doing so by not delegating the necessary authority. The diggers were intelligent, peaceable, and industrious, and should be protected in their rights; and were not place-seekers as was Mr Bradshaw, who sought for place, and obtained it by being appointed to some office in the General Government which the diggers do not acknowledge. Mr Poison, in a very able speech, seconded it, and it was carried num con.

The other resolutions were proposed and carried without a dissentient voice, as follows:

Proposed by Mr Grundy, seconded by Mr Costick — "That this meeting pledges itself to embody themselves in connexion with the Otago Association to protect the Province from all encroachments on its privileges by the General Government."

Proposed by Mr Donnald, seconded by Mr Costick — "That this meeting has heard with gratification the action taken by the Provincial Government and the members of the Council then present, and they thoroughly agree with them in the action taken by them; and this meeting pledges themselves to support them in all resolutions passed by them."

Proposed by Mr Higgins, seconded by Mr Tanton— "That in the opinion of this meeting a committee of seven be appointed from the meeting, to act in con junction with the Otago Association ; and should that committee think it prudent at any time to call a public meeting, that it shall be in their power to do the same."

Proposed by Mr Clark, seconded by Mr Grundy — "That the committee be empowered to draw up a requisition requesting Mr Cargill to resign his seat in the House of Representatives immediately."

The election of a committee of seven gentlemen, consisting of Messrs Wells, Irving, Poison, Duke, Grundy, Bayliss, and Donald, to confer with the Otago Association, to carry out the objects of the meeting, was then proceeded with. After voting the usual thanks to the chairman, the meeting dissolved.

A monster meeting was held on Friday night at Potts's Victoria Hotel, Lawrence (Mr W. Gascoigne in the chair), for the purpose of obtaining an expression of opinion on the action of the General Government in appointing Mr J. B. Bradshaw to act as Agent for the Goldfields, and in withholding from Mr Macandrew the powers usually delegated to the Superintendent. We regret that the late hour of the meeting precludes the possibility of our publishing the report in extent in this issue.
The meeting was one of the largest ever held in this district. Mr Julius Vogel, M.P.C., addressed tlie meeting, and Messrs Mollison, Brown, and Hughes, M.P.C., were present, the large room being filled to overflowing, and the windows around being crowded with eager faces; eventually it was absolutely necessary to adjourn to the open air — the speakers addressing the assemblage from Mr Potts's Verandah, at the first floor window.

The following resolutions were adopted:— 1. That this meeting protest against the action taken by the General Government, and will support the Superintendent, Provincial Government and Council to the utmost in restraining it. 2. That the co-operation of the whole of the Goldfields should be invited, and that copies of these resolutions be as widely distributed as possible. 3. That this meeting pledges itself to support the Superintendent and Provincial Council, and ignores the action of the General Government. 4. That Messrs J. C. Brown, M.P. C., and J. Hughes, M.P.C., be appointed delegates to invite the co-operation of other delegates in the matter.

Everything was earned with the utmost unanimity. Not less than 500 people were present. Three groans were given for the General Government and Mr Bradshaw, and three cheers for the Superintendent, for the Provincial Executive, and for Mr Vogel.

Votes of thanks to the Chair and to Mr Vogel terminated the proceedings.

It should perhaps be noted that the 'Costick's Bridge Hotel' referred to in this report was later referred to as 'Coghill's Bridge Hotel'. It is not known whether the Costick reference was an error or whether the bridge was actually known by their name for some time. It is also not clear whether Mr.Costick was John or Charles.

The Great Flood

On 15 February 1868 the Otago Witness reported that at Tuapeka and surrounding district:-

Waitahuna Floods - North Otago Times 5 March 1868
The rain still continues— " Water! water! everywhere." Tuapeka has been partly under water, as much, as 2ft. standing in some of the houses. But the greatest suffering has been at Waitahuna. The chief damage done at Lawrence and in the neighborhood has been to the bridges and roads, and in fact traffic is almost stopped. The claims, too, on the flats are ruined. At Waitahuna, however, the whole flat is covered with water, giving the appearance of a large lake, in some places more than a mile broad. Down the stream may be seen floating haystacks, horses, cattle, &c. The crops and gardens are, of course, destroyed. The approach to the bridge is washed away, and fears are entertained for the bridge itself. The coach, with the mails, was unable to proceed today. Mr Pope, the driver, made several attempts, but found it impossible — a race about a quarter of a mile from the river having assumed the proportions of a creek, some 14ft broad by 10ft deep. At Mr Coghill's Bridge Hotel, the water this morning was level with the billiard table; and, a woman living near was with difficulty got out of her house. To my surprise, the Dunedin mails arrived this evening, but the narration given to us by Mr De Carle, the only passenger, shews that they encountered real dangers. From his account the coach left Tokomariro at its usual hour. Approaching the Woolshed Bridge, a mile and a half was covered with water, in some places 5ft. deep. The approach on the Waitahuna side of the Woolshed bridge was washed away, but with the aid of ropes and planks, the coach was dragged over, the horses being pulled through the stream with ropes. At Waitahuna, the river was quite impassable. The driver and Mr De Carle I succeeded in swimming the horses over, and brought the mails, weighing about two cwt., from Waitahuna on horseback. At Waitahuna they experienced the greatest difficulty; a horse and bullock passed under the bridge as they were crossing, being dashed against the piles as they hurried downwards. The storekeepers were employed in trying to save their goods by ropes, &c., and ropes were therefore at a premium. After the mail horses were tied with a rope, as much as 5 [pounds] was demanded for it, which the driver indignantly refused to give; but by the means of the harness and a long clothes line, furnished by Mr Coghill, the horses crossed safely, and arrived here and the coach at 8 p.m. The is no communication from Waipori; but as the rain has been in that direction, the damage done there will, no doubt, be considerable also. When the weather permits, prompt action should be taken by the Government in repairing the roads and bridges damaged by the flood, as not only will the carriage of goods between Dunedin and up-country districts be impossible, but danger to life imminent.

Life was never easy at Waitahuna but the floods of 1868 made things even more difficult and it took some time for the damage to be repaired.

Did these floods cause many miners to leave the district? Probably. Did Charles Cosstick leave the district? Yes, but not at the time of the floods.


Charles Cosstick appears on the Waitahuna Electoral Rolls from 1865 through to 1872 - and on one occasion, in January 1871, appears twice. But records, especially on the goldfields, can tend to be incomplete and inaccurate. By May 1871 the Returning Officer for Waitahuna realised something was wrong and listed Charles Cosstick among those no longer qualified to be electors – on the grounds that his occupancy of the property previously leased by him had ceased some time ago.

When did he leave?

Charles Cosstick's wife Catherine, originally from Ireland, would have been aged 35 in 1874. There is a record of a Mrs Costick, Irish and aged 35, coming to Australia from New Zealand in 1874 on board the steamer S.S.Albion, with five children.

The S.S.Albion was an 800 ton steamer which made almost a constant round trip between Melbourne and the towns of southern New Zealand. A typical voyage in late 1873 involved the Albion arriving in the Hobson’s Bay Station Pier on 6 November then waiting until the English mails had arrived before leaving again for New Zealand at one o’clock in the afternoon of 16 November . After five days crossing the Tasman it arrived at Bluff Harbour at 11 a.m. on 21 November. Departing from Bluff at 11 p.m. the same night it arrived at Port Chalmers at 11 a.m. the next morning, 22 November, where it remained until 4.30 p.m. that afternoon when it departed for Lyttleton. The voyage to Lyttleton took until 10.30 a.m on 24 November. At 7 p.m. that day the Albion departed for Wellington where it arrived at 11 a.m. on 25 November. Departing from Wellington at 1 a.m. the next morning it headed for Nelson, arriving at noon on 26 November. At 1 p.m. on 27 November the Albion left for Greymouth, arriving there at 9.30 a.m. on 28 November. The next stop was Hokitika on the west coast, from where it departed at 5.30 p.m. on 28 November and, after crossing the Tasman once more, arrived back at Melbourne at 2 p.m. on Wednesday 3 December. The whole trip took seventeen days.

On this occasion the Albion was carrying 35 steerage passengers as well as its cabin passengers, and 9,800 ounces of gold. The number of steerage passengers seems to have been usually between thirty and fifty, and there were usually several thousand ounces of gold being carried during 1873.

Miners and their families returning from the Otago goldfields would have done better to have taken a more direct route, such as the one taken by the S.S.Aldinga, which left Port Chalmers and went around the south coast via Bluff Harbour then directly to Melbourne, taking only six or seven days. The voyage of the S.S.Albion took twice as long to reach Melbourne from Port Chalmers.

On board the S.S.Albion, coming to Melbourne from New Zealand in April 1874 was Mrs Costick, Irish, aged 35 and five Costick children - a boy, ‘G.T.’, aged nine; a girl, Sarah, aged seven; two more boys, James Edward also aged 7 and ‘E’ aged five; and another girl, Mary, aged three. Nothing else is known of these children.

Was this Catherine? The age and nationality certainly fit. But what of the children? They seem more akin to the children of her brother-in-law John Cosstick, although the initials and ages do not quite match. And John's wife Mary Ann was younger and not Irish. John Cosstick, then aged 39, returned to Melbourne on board the Alhambra in December 1874.

After returning to Melbourne Catherine lived for some time at 7 Carsons Cottages in what was then known as Little Flinders Street East, and later at number 80 Oxford Street, Collingwood. In 1882 Catherine is listed as being at 19 Latrobe Parade, off Collins Street East. It appears that she probably had little or no lasting contact with Charles Cosstick's brother John or Mary Ann whom she would have come to know in New Zealand.

On 23 May 1893, Catherine married Murdoch McLoud, a Watchman, of South Melbourne, at the Victorian Free Church in South Melbourne. Murdoch McLoud was a widower with one child. Catherine was working as a Housekeeper in South Melbourne and indicated on the marriage certificate that she was a widow aged 54, that her husband had died in 1869, and that she had no children. Both signed the certificate with a cross and it was witnessed by L.Arthnell and R.O.Gells.

More questions arise. If Catherine was aged no older that thirty-five and a widow without children when she returned to Melbourne in 1874 it seems unusual that she would have remained single for another twenty years before remarrying. Was she somehow hoping for the return of her husband? Or was she perhaps disillusioned with marriage?

And what really happened to Charles Cosstick? Did he really die in 1869? There are no Cossticks at all in the New Zealand Deaths Index between 1863 and 1874, and the cemetery records for Waitahuna, Lawrence and Otago contain no record of a burial for any person by the name of Cosstick. Maybe he disappeared in New Zealand and Catherine believed that he had died. Or maybe she knew he had not and hoped he would somehow return. Is that why she waited so long before remarrying?

If the Electoral Rolls were inaccurate and kept Charles Cosstick's name listed until he was removed in 1871, perhaps there are other indicators. Between 1863 and 1865 both Charles and John Cosstick appear in almost every account of the matches played by the Waitahuna Cricket Club. In fact without the Cosstick brothers the team would possibly not have existed. But there are no reports of the Cossticks playing for Waitahuna after January 1865. Charles Cosstick was possibly down at Canada Reef in November 1865 with James Smith. He married Catherine Young at Lawrence in June 1866, and was possibly at the Public Meeting at Waitahuna in May 1867.

The rest of this chapter is in the book.


Full references and sources are available for this information and are published in the book. Please email me if you would like source references.

1 comment:

sue said...

Hello, My name is susan griggs. edith cosstick was my great geandmother. her daughter pearl cosstick gamble-gilbert was my grandmother. i found your article very interesting and informative. lots of information i din't know. thank you very much!
susan griggs