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Goldasaurus

How a $250,000 gold nugget was found!

The untold story

An amateur gold prospector from Western Victoria had always dreamt about finding a gold nugget.

He and his wife were working an area between Ballarat and Bendigo in what is commonly known as the ‘Golden Triangle’.

Conditions on that spring morning reminded him of a scene from the Australian film ‘Nugget’. With sunrays beaming through the ironbark bush, his metal detector made that “loud, sweet” sound, signalling gold. Little did he know how big his find would be and how it might change his life.

I don’t think there’s any words to describe how I felt when I saw the size of it. In between tears, I was thanking whoever was looking after me,” he said. The prospector pulled the 4.4 kilogram nugget from the ground, wrapped it in his windcheater and hastily returned to his wife at the nearby caravan park. The reserved couple told only one person of their find, and went to ground after stories of a huge gold strike began to circulate. It is only now that the real story can be told.

The nugget was lodged steadfast in the clay, and took more than an hour to dig out - not an easy task without creating some suspicion from fellow gold prospectors. (Unlike the movie version, he was determined not to leave this nugget in the ground).

His story is similar to the great tales of fortune of early gold seekers in the 1850s. The huge nugget was buried two feet below the surface and in an area that people walked over every day. “There’s a hundred bits of rubbish to every one piece of gold out there,” he said. The owners plan to use their newfound wealth to continue their passion for gold prospecting.

The bush is my rest and relaxation - the gold is a bonus. I always had a thought in my head that one day I would find one of those nuggets with my name on it. I just didn’t realise how big it would be.

The prospector and his wife approached Sovereign Hill about purchasing the nugget because they believe people should have the opportunity to see it. “Gold is what inspired me to keep searching, and I think people from all over the world who come to Sovereign Hill will gain the same inspiration.”

The prospector was born in a goldmining township in Tasmania. The joy that the nugget has brought his family will be shared with tens of thousands of visitors to Sovereign Hill, where it will be on permanent display at the Gold Museum.

Footnote: The prospector and his wife wish to remain anonymous.