Archives for May 2021


Department of Conservation

Near the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail in Central Otago, a gold settlement called Rigney once supported 200 miners and storekeepers while they worked a field at Horseshoe Bend on the Clutha River between 1863 and 1865. On a barren hill near where Rigney once stood, the most emotive pair of graves in New Zealand tell a story of kindness and loss. Romanticized myth and legend surround the two forlorn headstones known as the ‘Lonely Graves’.


In February 1865, the body of a young man was discovered on the banks of the Clutha River. A shivering wet dog sat guard over the body when it was discovered by miner William Rigney. The smooth hands and fine features of the young man suggested he was not a miner. William thought he looked aristocratic and considered the possibility he was a young lord. He became obsessed with the mysterious body which was never identified and took it upon himself to arrange a burial in a suitable grave which he had arranged on a hillside nearby. read more