The Australian Museum has a set of 43 gold nugget replicas, some acquired up to 135 years ago, representing every Australian state except South Australia, as well as New Zealand. In 1883 a group of five Victorian gold nugget casts (made of gilded plaster) were purchased from James White of Hotham, Victoria, and a further 11 in 1886, including this replica of the ‘Welcome’. The total of 16 gold nugget casts cost £8. Replicas were often cast from originals, but many are impressions made from descriptions, drawings and photos.
Bakery Hill, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
18 x 45 x 14 cm
Acquired 1886, registered 1905 (L.569).
The ‘Welcome’ gold nugget was found on 9 June 1858, at 180 ft (55 m) depth in loam in a creek bed, by the Red Hill Mining Company, Bakery Hill, Ballarat, Victoria. A party of 22 Cornishmen worked the area so all claimed part of the fame in unearthing it, although Richard Jeffrey has been credited as the discoverer. It is said that he fainted when his pickaxe uncovered it and his companions thought he was dead. It was later sold and melted down in London in November 1859.
The nugget had a gross weight of 2,217 ounces and 16 pennyweights (62.85 kg), including 10 pounds of quartz, clay and iron oxides, and a net weight of 2195 ounces of gold.
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