The Lonely Graves near Milllers Flat

Follow on down the road from Millers Flat on the true left of the Clutha River, and at 11 km you will come to the site of Horseshoe Bend Diggings. There is little sign of the village now, but the Lonely Graves just further on, are well known and the restored Horseshoe Bend suspension bridge can be accessed by a public walking track.

Lonely Graves. DOC

The story goes (a popular myth, not a fact) that late in 1864, William Rigney found a shivering dog beside the dead body of a good-looking young man. The police were notified but nobody came to claim the body. Rigney dug the grave and everyone at the diggings attended the funeral. The pine slab with these words burned on: “Somebody’s Darling Lies Buried Here” marks the grave. When Rigney died in 1912, he was buried alongside as he had wished. His stone was engraved:

“Here lies William Rigney, the man who buried Somebody’s Darling.”

(Originally known as Blacks where the pub is still called Blacks Hotel) – Today, Ophir is a peaceful town close to the Manuherikia River, 26 km from Alexandra just off SH 85 to Ranfurly. It’s rich history comes from its many original stone buildings which include the restored Post and Telegraph Office built 1886, the 1895 Courthouse, the 1870s Police Station and some cottages dating back to the 1870s. The 1880 suspension bridge anchored in solid schist rock makes for a most spectacular entrance. The Rev. Alexandra Don, a prominent Presbyterian priest ministering to the Chinese miners in the late 1890s and early 1900s, retired here to his bungalow in 1926.

Kawarau Historic bridge Anna Humphries

The combination of the Nevis Bluff and the Kawarau gorge with its thunderous rapids barred the way to the Wakatipu goldfields until a road was cut in 1866 around the Nevis Bluff. Later, a fine suspension bridge was built on stone piers in 1880. This superb structure can be seen today alongside the modern highway, just 18km from Queenstown. The bridge is used now only for bungy jumping, and heritage appreciation.

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