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Daniel Leahy: a prominent Hauraki prospector and miner

Dan Leahy’s career was an example of a man devoting his life to prospecting. An Irishman, from 1862 onwards he prospected on several goldfields, first at Coromandel, where he may have been the first to detect gold in Driving Creek. After some years in Otago, he returned to the North Island to join the Thames rush in 1867, spending a couple of years mining there before returning to Coromandel. From mid-1869 onwards he prospected in Ohinemuri, despite the opposition of both the government and the Maori landowners. He may have been the first to discover gold at Waitekauri, and after Ohinemuri was opened to mining in 1875 he mined there for a couple of years. Like all true prospectors, he was always on the lookout for new fields to explore. After prospecting at Waihi in 1878, briefly, he was equally briefly involved in the Te Aroha rush before turning his attention to Karangahake. A later rumour of his attempting to prospect the King Country was false, and in 1890 he returned to Coromandel and prospected there almost until the end of his life, with little success and becoming regarded as a ‘hatter’. Unlike most other prospectors and miners, it is possible to obtain some impressions of his personality, mostly through his excessive drinking, the probable cause of his marriage breaking up. Whatever his personal faults, in the mining community he was much admired.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). Daniel Leahy: a prominent Hauraki prospector and miner. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 55). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart