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This work by Caroline McQuarrie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
In the 1866 many prospectors were seeing colour in the black sand beaches on the coast north of Greymouth and south of Westport. Charleston quickly became an established settlement, and just south at the mouth of Fox River in record time the town of Brighton sprung up in late 1866 on a narrow strip of beach. Initially bigger than Charleston, Brighton boomed and faded much more quickly. The rush began in November of that year, within three weeks 50 businesses had been established, and two weeks after that 160 buildings were recorded, including a lock-up, courthouse and 53 hotels. A harbor master and 17 constables were appointed, and on 18 Dec 1866 the first issue of the 'Brighton Times' had been produced. The population was estimated at 5000, and the new community could not support its own numbers - not all miners could find claims and there are reports that not enough bread was able to be baked to feed everyone in town. By March 1867 the population had fallen to 2800, and by September of the same year 1295. The 'rush' left two churches, a brewery, a hospital and a resident warden. However in 1906 when a 'Grey River Argus' reporter travelled through he only found four houses remaining. There are still only four houses on the site now, the name has fallen out of use, and there is nothing on the site to suggest a boom town once stood here. Further reading.