The biggest gold nugget ever found is called the Welcome Stranger nugget. The huge gold nugget was found by John Deason and Richard Oates near the town of Dunolly in Victoria, at Black Lead, Bulldog Gully in Australia. The biggest gold nugget was found on February 5, 1869.
Both of the men were mine workers and had been gold mining in this particular area for several years. Deason and Oates had various levels of luck and success, as at some weeks they only produced a very small amount of gold, and on some weeks they have discovered larger size gold nuggets in the area. Where the largest gold nugget ever found was discovered there were some other particularly big nuggets too.
It is said that Deason was working near the root of a tree with his mining pick and he suddenly struck something hard. When Deason bent down to examine the object further he realized he indeed found a large nugget, but he did not know yet it will be the biggest gold nugget ever found.
The two mine workers took the nugget to the nearby town of Dunolly, where the biggest gold nugget was transported to the London Chartered Bank. The word of the gigantic nugget spread quickly and people from the town gathered at the bank to catch a glimpse at the big nugget.
In this era, the most common way of processing large gold nuggets was splitting it into multiple pieces. The same thing happened with the Welcome Stranger as well, it was quickly broken into three larger pieces so it can be transported more easily.
This also helped with the quicker process of smelting. A sledgehammer and a cold chisel were used to split up the biggest gold nugget so it can be more manageable to handle.
Sadly no mold was made of the largest gold nugget ever found, so there is no way of knowing what did it actually look like. There are multiple drawings of the large gold nugget, so memories and hand-drawn sketches are the only ways to remember this remarkable find.
Interestingly, there are various different weight reports on the biggest gold nugget. The most common size claims the total weight was 2284 troy ounces, but the Department of Mines in Victoria gave out the publication form with the weight of 22840 troy ounces.
On the day it was also reported that mine workers handed out several small pieces of gold nuggets to friends and to the gathered crowd when they have broken the Welcome Stranger nugget into multiple pieces. This could be the reason why there are multiple measurements for this huge gold nugget.
If this does not make you wonder about modern metal detectors and gold, then nothing will. Can metal detectors detect gold for sure? Yes, they can!
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