Built with Indexhibit
This work by Caroline McQuarrie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Lyell, situated on the Buller River in what was then ‘North West Nelson’ (north of the Grey River) was the first gold rush on the West Coast in 1862, however the inaccessibility of the place meant only about 300 people ‘rushed’. While hardy prospectors continued to work Lyell creek, the town really came into its own in 1869 when Antonio Zala discovered gold bearing quartz in Irishman's Creek. The gold locked in quartz reefs was able to be extracted by companies set up to mine the quartz and crush the gold out of it, establishing towns up the valley behind Lyell; Zalatown (circa 1886-1898) was one of these towns. Named for Zala, a Lyell stalwart and the founder of the Alpine Mine, which the residents of Zalatown worked. By 1875 the town boasted multiple hotels and a Post Office, however once the dray road was built and the easier to reach Gibbstown became established the population of Zalatown fell away, and by 1904 very little was left. To reach Zalatown: Old Dray Loop Road.