Promised Land is an illustrated history of Central Otago's settlement by one of the region's most vocal advocates, artist Grahame Sydney.
Before gold was discovered there in 1862, Central Otago was known as the 'Wasteland' and was home to no more than 40 to 50 pastoralists. However as soon as two prospectors announced they had struck gold, this sparse, inhospitable region was suddenly transformed into a secular 'Promised Land', into which legions of hopefuls marched, energised by dreams of earthly reward. Unfortunately the majority of diggers were poorly equipped for the terrible hardships that lay ahead and their Promised Land became the country of broken dreams - meanwhile in Dunedin and the province of Otago the coffers swelled.
Sydney delves into several surviving diaries of gold prospectors to describe the pivotal period in Central Otago's history with vivid immediacy, concluding that this uniquely beautiful landscape lies just as much under threat of exploitation today.