If you're similarly inclined, and find yourself pottering about over there with not much to do, you might want to check the veracity of the story below. It is taken word for word from the Yachtsman magazine - a very good publication put out by the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club for several years during the mid 1930s. If nothing else, it provides a nice little fireside read.
I've added some illustrations.
(Told by "Perry" at whose request all personal names have been changed.)
There is a Treasure Island in Marlborough Sounds with buried gold to the estimated value of 400 pounds. The Island is shown on the charts as Cooper Island and it is situated between Cabbage Bay and Long Island in the Northern entrance. The charts show the island as being without any anchorage or cove, but in this respect they are wrong as I shall show. There seems little doubt but that the treasure still lies where Laurence Crosbee buried it years ago.
Chance led me to the discovery which, aided by coincidence led to our search for the gold and to the tragic death of one of the searchers.
|The Twins as shown on Google maps|
|Gold miners at Endeavour Inlet. Source National Library of NZ|
|Mt Cook Prison in 1896. Demolished 1931. Source Te Ara|
It is unnecessary to tell at length how we eventually stumbled on to the fact that Laurence Crosbee, the prisoner in Mt. Cook, was the "Sailor" Crosby who buried 400 pounds in gold, and how it dawned on me that the map on the back of the letter was really a chart of Cooper Island. Sufficient to say we came to the conclusion that the gold was on Cooper Island buried five feet on the beachside of a large cabbage tree. Unfortunately others became aware of our discovery.
Poor Crosbee must have drawn the sketch to aid his failing memory and then died in jail.
|Motungarara (Cooper Island) on Google maps|
We had dug about a foot when we heard the beat of a motorboat engine and suddenly through the entrance nosed a large boat. We recognised the launch. It belonged to Joe Foster and Spud Laws (not their real names of course). We paused from our work as she came in. Standing for'ard to drop the anchor we saw Richards, the fellow who gave Donald the chart. Soon they were ashore looking at the hole we had started to dig.
"Just in time," said Laws with a laugh. Peter asked him what he meant, whereupon Foster said that they had come for their share of the gold as it was just as much theirs as ours. Furthermore they had waited for us in a nearby cove giving us time to start digging in order to see exactly where the gold lay. They wanted to be fair and were willing to split fifty fifty.
Peter said he'd see them in hell first and with that the fight was started. The fight was long and tough and in the end Foster and his two pals drew off to nurse their bruises. We were not unhurt ourselves and sat down alongside our hole to glower at our rivals. After resting Laws came up and said that they weren't going to budge until they had got a share. We told him to go to blazes and started digging. The time was now about eleven thirty. Suddenly we heard a crashing sound and a loarge boulder flew past Donald who was loosening the soil with the pick. We looked up the clif and saw Peter on top.
"Keep clear of that hole or else I'll roll some bigger bricks down," he yelled. With that he rolled a few more down to show us how. We felt wild, especially when we saw the grins (somewhat twisted) of Richards and Laws.
At this moment fate took a hand and the tragedy happened. The bounding boulders must have loosened the cliff for, with a roar that made the ground tremble, the side came down in a cloud of dust. A large stone caught me in the back as I turned to fly and knocked me into the water. Peter and Donald were to one side and were able to dodge away. Laws and Richards at the other end of the beach were safe.
|Scene of the action from a near-contemporary chart|
We hurried to Picton: the launch with the yacht in tow. On arrival we heard of the terrible earthquake that had happened in Napier at the same time as the landslide. We did not know until then that an earthquake had happened. Among the large toll of death of earthquake victims the inquest on poor Foster passed unremarked especially as we did not refer to the treasure.
So the gold still lies on Cooper Island buried deeper than Laurence Crosbee ever dreamed it would be.
(footnote. From the latest charts and maps Cooper Island is shown as Motungarara Island, and Cabbage Bay as Onehunga Bay.)
...And that's the article in full, including the footnote. Anyone fancy a treasure hunt??