On 5th February, 1869, near the town of Moliagul in Victoria, two gold miners John Deason and Richard Oates dug up from under the roots of a tree, buried about 5cm (2ins) deep, the biggest alluvial gold nugget ever found. It weighed 69kg (155lbs or 2220 troy oz).
It was called "The Welcome Stranger".
They were paid ₤9,563 by the bank for it. In today's terms that's around $1.5 million which must have been a fantastic amount of money in those days. At today's gold price it would be worth $3.5 million.
No wonder both men quit mining, bought land, and retired to the easy life.
They had been, the day before the find, refused credit by the local store for a bag of flour they needed to supplement their meagre rations.
No picture or cast was ever taken of the nugget and the replica below is based on a couple of sketches made at the time.
Why my interest in all this?
There had been a photo of the event in the possession of my family as long as I can remember and I spent some time to seek it out.
It appears that the picture, taken by a local photographer at the time, William Parker of Dunoly, is a re-enactment.
The little boy standing behind the lady kneeling between the two miners with their crowbar and pick is my maternal grandfather.