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Famous Australian Nuggets


The Welcome Stranger


The Welcome Stranger
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

This nugget is the largest known to date in Victoria and was found on the 5th of February 1869, approximately 15 kilometres to the northwest of Dunolly, near a mining town called Moliagul. The finder, John Deason, and a companion Richard Oates located the nugget 3 centimetres below the surface within the roots of a stringybark tree. The nugget weighed 2316 troy ounces* (about 72 kg) and at the time of discovery was the largest known gold nugget in the world, measuring 60 by 45 by 19 centimetres. The site of discovery is marked by a stone monument.


The Welcome


The Welcome
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

The Welcome was discovered at Bakery Hill, Ballarat by the Red Hill Mining Company on the 15th of June 1858. It was located at a depth of 180 feet and was apparently water-worn and of an irregular shape. The nugget was exhibited in Melbourne for many weeks and later sold and melted down in London in November 1859. The nugget weighed 2218 troy ounces (about 71.3 kg), measured 53 by 28 by 16 centimetres and assayed at over 99 per cent pure gold.


The Hand of Faith


The Hand of Faith
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

This nugget was found behind the State School in Kingower, Victoria in 1980. It weighed 845 troy ounces (about 27.2 kg) and measured 45 by 19 by 10 centimetres. Despite concerted efforts to keep it within Australia, the nugget was later sold and is on display in the Golden Nugget Casino, Las Vegas, USA.


Schlemm Nugget


The Schlemm Nugget
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

This nugget was found by Henry Davey in Dunolly, near Wilson's Lead on the 11th of November 1872. It weighed 538 ounces and measured 31 by 30 by 8 centimetres in size. The exact name of the place where the nugget was found is "The Shoots". Quartz was generally mixed throughout the nugget with a little ironstone. The nugget was subsequently purchased by Mr. Charles Schlemm of Sandhurst.


Spondulix


The Spondulix
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

This nugget was found during November 1872 in Eureka Gully, which is part of the Jordan’s gold field, between Berlin and Wehla, Victoria. It was found by Wilton and party and weighed in at 155 ounces, measured 17 by 16 by 5 centimetres. It was also associated with some quartz and ironstone.


The Little Jack


The Little Jack
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

Found within the rich Poseidon Lead, Tarnagulla, Victoria, by Jackson and Hughes on the 4th of February 1907, this 252-ounce nugget measured 22 by 14 by 10 centimetres and was intermingled with a substantial amount of quartz.



Lady Loch


Lady Loch
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

Found on the 23rd of August 1887 by the Midas Mining Company in Sulky Gully Ascot, Victoria at a depth of 114 feet. The nugget weighed 617 ounces and measured 34 by 21 by 7 centimetres.


The Pride of Australia


The Pride of Australia
Courtesy of Museum Victoria

This attractive nugget was found at Mosquito Gully near Wedderburn in June 1981. It weighed 256 ounces and is second only in size to the Hand of Faith amongst those nuggets found by metal detector. It was purchased for $250 000 by the State Bank of Victoria as a gift to the people of Victoria for the State’s 150th anniversary in 1985. It was displayed in the State Bank, then in the Museum of Victoria, until it was stolen in a smash and grab raid on its case in August 1991. Its fate is unknown.

*The troy system is used to measure weights of precious metals such as gold, and has units of ounces, pennyweights and grains. A troy ounce contains 20 pennyweights and 1 pennyweight contains 24 grains. One troy ounce is equivalent to 31.1 grams in the metric system.


Credits

By Dr Bill Birch, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Museum Victoria



 
 

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