While the gold-rush population was generally law-abiding there were definitley some dastardly characters around.
The Burgess-Kelly gang were active on the West Coast for a few months and boasted that they had 'put away' 30 isolated miners whose disappearance wasn't noticed. The gang was eventually hanged in Nelson, with the exception of Sullivan who turned Kings evidence and disappeared.
Two men were hanged on the West Coast, Anthony Noble for the murder of an 8 year old girl in 1871 and John Donoghue for the murder of his neighbour, James Gifford, at Dunganville in 1884.
Most imprisonments were for drunkenness, assault, debt or having no means of visible support. Small gaols like the one at Shantytown were found in 'up country' gold towns and were used for prisoners on their way to the main gaol at Hokitika or for those given short sentences by the local magistrate.
The heavy doors at the Shantytown Jail (gaol) with the peephole are from the jail (gaol) in Blackball.
You can view the jail (gaol) and even place yourself, or 'friends' in the stocks with a ball and chain for an amusing photo oppourtunity