On 1 March 1864, Alpheus Barrington set out into the South Island wilderness in search of gold. He was joined by Welshman James Farrell and Frenchman Antoine Simonin; the three explorers travelled for seven months, fighting terrible conditions, starvation and frostbite. After the trio found their way home and narrowly escaped death (being described as "living skeletons covered in skin"), the public learnt that the only morsels of gold found were ditched in a last attempt to survive. Explorers - Barrington was the third of a four-part series in which host Peter Elliott retraces the steps of early New Zealand settlers/explorers.
The three are wrecks of humanity. No one could believe the human frame could be so reduced. Their cheekbones, nose — besides the elbows, hips and other parts of the body — were protruding through the skin. Barrington, who had had the best boots, has suffered the worst from being frostbitten, and all his flesh has eaten from the tops of his toes.– Mr Bell, owner of a local station, describes the state of the explorers after farm workers find them crossing the property
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