Friday, 31 May 2019

Monster gold nuggets

It was interesting to hear that an amateur prospector in Western Australia has discovered a 49-ounce (1.4-kilogram) gold nugget valued at nearly $100,000 (MEI Online). The anonymous man allegedly discovered the palm-sized nugget, referred to as a "monster", using a metal detector while wandering around saltbush flats in the Goldfields region.
Photo: Finders Keepers Gold Prospecting via Facebook
Amateur gold finds of such size are rare. In November 2017, a Queenslander discovered a 41.2-ounce nugget beneath the brush outside Townsville, and in August 2016 a prospector discovered a 145-ounce nugget in Victoria’s Golden Triangle.
But coincidentally, earlier this month The London Mint Office presented a special coin to Cornwall to celebrate the discovery 150 years ago of a real monster nugget, the largest ever discovered, dubbed the “Welcome Stranger”, a 2540-ounce (72 kilogram) specimen found by two Cornish miners in Victoria in 1869. Local descendants of the miners were in Redruth to celebrate and Cornwall Gold's Tolgus Tin Mill specially commissioned a commemorative statue as a celebration of the pair’s discovery.
The statue at Cornwall Gold near Redruth depicting the discovery
(Photo Angela Crump)
In the 1850s thousands of people travelled to Victoria in search of their fortune, as part of the Victorian gold rush. Two who did realise their dreams, on 5th February 1869, were John Deason and Richard Oates. John Deason was born on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, but moved to Pendeen in west Cornwall as a one-year-old after his fisherman father drowned. This is where he met Richard Oates, and both are recorded in the 1851 census as working the tin mines of Cornwall.
John Deason with a replica of the Welcome Stranger

John Deason emigrated to Australia in 1853, with Richard Oates going a year later, to begin life as prospectors or "diggers". On a slope called Bulldog Gully, an enormous piece of gold encased in quartz was buried just below the surface. It was so big, that as Mr Deason wrote "I tried to prise the nugget up with the pick but the handle broke. I then got a crowbar and raised the nugget to the surface".
They took it to the town of Dunolly, about 20km away, where it was weighed at the London Chartered Bank of Australia. The bank paid just under £10,000 for the nugget, and the miners were eventually paid £9381, well over a million pounds in today's prices. If sold today it is estimated the nugget would fetch more than £2m, and it would probably have significant prestige value. Both miners died in Victoria some years later.
A replica of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget
 

1 comment:

  1. Fortune favors the brave(explorers)--good history on ancient mineral findings

    ReplyDelete

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