Days of Gold
William Rees did not resist the minersâ€™ rush. He welcomed them, fed them from his farm stock, ferried their gold out and their supplies back.
He would turn out in the dead of night, with a revolver tucked in his belt, to ensure that every hungry miner had a share of flour and food when his ferry boat docked.
When a burly miner shaped up and challenged his honesty WG drew on his boxing skills and he felled his aggressive critic with a single blow. It didnâ€™t happen again.
Rees held a vision for Queenstown that stretched far beyond the here-today-gone-tomorrow rush of the miners. He used his engineering experience to set up a timber mill on Pigeon Island and began constructing the major buildings of the town.
WG converted his woolshed into Queenstownâ€™s first hotel, and went on to build the first government offices, first church, first Masonic lodge, and was instrumental in the development of the first hospital.