DescriptionGabriel Read sparked the Otago goldrush in 1861 when he proclaimed there to be gold at what is now Gabriels Gully. It is reputed that Edward Peters had discovered gold prior to this in the Tokomiriro River, however he did not stake a claim to it. 1861 saw a mass influx of miners into the Clutha District around the Lawrence, Tuapeka, and Milton areas. By mid-1861 the population of Waitahuna had reached 11,000, twice that of Dunedin at the time. Goldmining towns sprung up around the goldfields to service the miners, most notably that of Lawrence.
In 1866 Chinese miners came to the district to work over the previously toiled workings and they set up a camp just west of Lawrence. The goldrush was shortlived, and many did not make their fortunate. However, some miners remained in the district establishing farms. The remanents of goldmining can be seen in the district today with a staggering 21 heritage listed buildings in Lawrence and a number of historic destinations in the surrounding area.