Otago Daily Times, 16 May 2022
Up to 300 people turned out in Cromwell on Saturday to farewell not only a complete stranger but a man who died generations before anyone in attendance was even born.
The unknown gold miner’s remains were discovered buried near Cromwell in 1983, during archaeological work ahead of construction of the Clyde Dam and highway.
Evidence of grave robbing was discovered which had occurred sometime after his burial more than 140 years ago.
The man’s remains, including his well-preserved boots, were then housed in the University of Otago’s anatomy department where the man was known as “E224”.
Attempts in recent years to identify the miner have been in vain.
A push in February for a final resting place for the man now known as “the Gold Miner” culminated in his burial at the Cromwell Cemetery on Saturday in a traditional Anglican service that was taken straight from the Victorian era in which he died.
The service was heavy on symbolism even in the lead-up to his burial, every step paying nod to how things would have been in the mid-to-late 19th century.
The man’s bespoke coffin was carried through Old Cromwell across the town by a horse-drawn hearse to the cemetery, where the miner was given a final resting place.