Two Miners Searching For Gold, Make A Record-Breaking Find

Life changing find

This is a tale of gold and fate. Back in 1869, two men who were miners at the time decided to try their luck in the Australian gold rush. Gold mining is a risky business and it evolved into a huge things once people started to find gold in regions of Australia, that would otherwise have been considered barren. Today, for example, it would be the equivalent to winning the lottery. The amount of money that one can end up with if they found a respectably sized nugget of gold is more than they bargained for, in the best possible way. In 1869, when these two men decided to try their luck, they never thought in a million years that they would not only make a substantial find but a record-breaking one as well. The story of how the men discovered their truly stunning find, and what happened to them thereafter, is a look into history in all of its glory.

Life changing find

In February of 1869, there was an amazing find, that from that day, has sent waves through history and is still very relevant today. It was then that two men decided to try their luck in the gold fields in Victoria, Australia.

Life changing find

This was the very time in history that Australian was indeed in a “gold rush.” The land was wild and untouched, which meant there were prizes to be had.

Gold rush

As soon as word got out that there was gold to be found in Australia, people started flocking to the region in the hopes of literally “striking gold.” The first gold find occurred in February of 1851 in New South Wales. The following finds were in Victoria, prompting people to rush to that area as well.

Gold rush

It did not take long for the funds from the found gold to make their way to the country’s treasury, providing a much-needed boost to the region and with more people flooding to the country, the gold business was booming.

Tons

At the height of the gold rush, approximately two tons of the yellow treasure was found and brought to the Melbourne Treasury every single week. It was also thanks to the gold that during that time the British were able to repay their outstanding debts and grow the empire that much farther. With the gold business being what it was, the population of the area of New South Wales grew exponentially and quickly.

Tons

Over 500,000 people found their way in, growing towns by up to 3,000 percent. With so many people coming in, the gold was sure to run out and the people left as quickly as they came.

Deason and Oates

During the time of the height of the rush, people in England got word of what was happening in Australia and decided to go and see for themselves. Two of these individuals were Richard Oates and John Deason. The two men lived in the town of Cornwall, England and were both tin miners. Like many others, the two decided to travel to Australia to try their own luck in finding gold.

Deason and Oates

Deason arrived in Victoria in 1853, while Oates arrived in 1854. They two ended up settling down in Moliagul, Victoria. As soon as they were both there, they got to digging.

Moliagul

The town of Moliagul was thriving thanks to the gold mining and was being found there. The town had eleven local pubs to accommodate the ever-growing influx of miners coming into the area. Moliagul had grown to boast a population of around 16,000 people, which was a substantial growth. Oates and Deason were just two of the people who called the town their home.

Moliagul

The two miners got to digging and were living on the gold that they would find every now and then. When digs came up empty, they did not earn any money, leaving them broke and hungry. The two needed to find some gold, and fast.

Tough times

In 1869, after Oates and Deason were in Victoria for quite a while, they had not been lucky in their quest for gold. The two were in debt by that time, so much so that they did not have the funds to purchase flour to even make themselves bread.

Tough times

Determined as ever, the two continued to dig. One morning in February they decided to try to dig in a new area, hoping that perhaps it would change their fate.

Striking gold

On the morning of February 5, 1869, Deason started his dig in a new spot. He was digging around some tree roots when his pick surprisingly broke. He exclaimed at the time that he wished it was a nugget of gold that had broken his pick.

Striking gold

Little did he know that he was not at all far off. The two miners took a closer look at what broke the pick, and lone behold – it was gold.

Nugget

Not only did the two strike gold, but they also found a whole lot of it. The nugget that they had unearthed was downright huge. The two discussed amongst themselves how much they thought it would be worth, with figures being thrown out there and ranging between $6,600 and $2,600.

Nugget

The two unearthed the gold and took it back to their shack to remove the extra quartz that was stuck to it. The removal of the quartz also broke off smaller nuggets of gold.

The plan

Once the piece of gold was cleaned of quartz and smaller pieces, the two miners were shocked to see the true size of the piece they had found. The nugget of gold measured at an astonishing 24 by 12 inches. The two needed to take it to be weighed in order to know how much it was worth.

The plan

Oates and Deason took the gold, which they called Welcome Stranger, to London Chartered Bank to weigh it.

Too large

The two guys walked into the bank in the hopes of having the gold weighed in order to sell it. What they did not think would happen would be that Welcome Stranger be too large to fit on the scale! In order for it to be weighed, it needed to be broken down into smaller pieces, and so it was.

Too large

The final weight of the pieces of gold was 210 pounds. To this day it is the largest nugget of gold ever found.

Famous gold

Once the gold was weighed, word got around that the two men had made a serious find. Oates and Deason ended up getting $12,000 for their incredible find, as well as gained a lot of fame for being the finders of such a monumental piece.

Famous gold

The two men were very kind to their friends as they gave each over one pound of gold. The town where the gold was weighed, Dunolly, erected a memorial for the fantastic find in 1897.

Today’s worth

If Welcome Stranger was found today, it is said that it would have been worth $3 million from a straight sale, and around $8.5 million from an auction. That is a gigantic increase in value compared to what it was sold for all those years ago, and it just shows how quickly the price of something can increase.

Today’s worth

Back then, the sum of money that Oates and Deason got was very different, and just a small portion of what it could have made today.

Different Price

At the time, it was sold for $12,000, which was in fact considered to be a truly huge amount of money. Believe it or not, it was actually enough to make the men very rich and comfortable for the rest of their lives! Of course, today, we all know too well that unfortunately, that is not the case anymore.

Different Price

Indeed, Deason used his find to his advantage and moved on to make a name for himself.

Post-discovery

Following the discovery of the gold, Deason met a wonderful woman and went on to marry her. From there, the happy couple built a life together and had a family of their own. They then decided to base themselves in Moliagul.

Post-discovery

Using the money from his find, Deason wanted to build himself and his family a good life and so he purchased 80 acres of land in Moliagul. However, it did not quite work out as he had planned.

Plans Didn’t Work Out

Deason planned to use the land for agriculture work. Basing himself there full time, he hoped to be able to work on the land and turn into a farming area. While it all worked out for his kin, Deason himself ended up losing most of his gold money and land! The loss came from a series of unfortunate investments, that he got carried away with.

Plans Didn’t Work Out

This rocked his new life and all of his plans fell to the ground. His great-grandson, Arthur, said that Deason lost all of his money prior to his death.

Playing with history

What happened to Deason was extremely sad, and not something he deserved at all. The gold find had the capacity to change his life, and while trying to stabilize a life for his family, everything collapsed. Although he did everything right, for some reason, it just did not go plan.

Playing with history

While his ancestor may have lost the land and money, Deason’s great-grandson said that his great-grandfather never forgot what made him rich and famous.

Special Item

He was a good man with a good heart who wanted to spread the message of how important their hard work was on that very day. Arthur said that when he was very young, he used the crowbar that Deason used when mining the gold out. His great-grandson used the crowbar as a piece of fencing.

Special Item

His father then proceeded to remind him that it was indeed the crowbar that helped his family member to dig up the famous ‘Welcome Stranger’ and how much of a momentous time it was in history.

Celebration

To this day, the people who live in Dunolly take great pride in the discovery of the gold in their area. They appreciate the hard work that the men put in to retrieve the gold and are appreciative of how much it improved the economy of the town due to a high increase in visitors, which it still has to this day.

Celebration

A local committee member explained that the town was built on the back of the gold rush and that the history of that area and time is important to them.

Annual Celebration

Each member of the town honors the find, and understand that even though they didn’t directly benefit from the gold rush, it certainly improved their lives in a way. Every year the town like to do something in memory of that time, and when it came to the 150th anniversary, they wanted to do something special.

Annual Celebration

The residents came together and celebrated the history of their little home across the town, and all took part and enjoyed the day.

Mythological take

As is with many incredible stories and finds, after years and years of the story being told, it took on a mythological style of its own. Stories began to circulate that differed from the original and people began to put their own spin on the tale.

Mythological take

One narrative that came about was that Deason and Oates had been drinking before they went to their dog and was rather drunk when they found the nugget.