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The Region > Arrowtown
It was in 1862 that a sheerer called Jack Tewa found gold in the Arrow River. The discovery led miners in there thousands to the region and within weeks 1500 people had arrived in search of treasure. Arrowtown was originally named Foxes (after William Fox a Californian gold miner). The Arrow River became famous as one of the world's richest sources of alluvial gold and many miners made their fortunes in this area.
The early settlement had its challenges. Many of the miners built temporary dwellings not having the time or money to build permanent dwellings. The tents and shanties built on the banks of the Arrow River were washed away in a flood early in the settlements history. The town was rebuilt on more solid foundations on terraces above the riverbank with some of the stone buildings in Buckingham Street date back to 1862 or 1863. This move saw Arrowtown develop into a bustling town including several hotels, a bank, gaol, school, post office and hospital. The population at the peak of the gold rush rose to 7,000 with a few hundred more residing in the nearby now ghost towns of Bullendale, Skippers and Macetown.
Life for the early miners was tough. Because of their temporary dwellings, inadequate diets and long hours spent on the icy Arrow River, many suffered from scurvy, dysentery and rheumatism with some suffering early deaths. Among the early miners a small community of Chinese set up their mining settlement near Bush Creek. The Chinese settlement was excavated in 1983 and today provides a valuable insight into the life and times of miners in the region.
Since it's heyday, Arrowtown has re-emerged as a tourist destination with a variety of accommodation, dining, sightseeing and recreational pursuits and as a base for agriculture and winegrowing in this part of the basin. The particular attraction of Arrowtown is for the beauty of its surroundings and the rustic appeal of a living historic town. Efforts have been made to restore and retain the originality of the town's historic buildings and pioneering past of the district.