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Looking for Gold - Travel Victoria

Updated on April 8, 2015
The "Welcome Stranger' Nugget
The "Welcome Stranger' Nugget

There's Gold in them there hills

Gold! It's been worshipped, plundered, fought over and traded for thousands of years.

In the Victoria of 1851 gold was literally oozing from the ground in almost inexhaustible quantities. Wealth was everywhere, and fortunes were being made.

It was gold that created the growth and power of Melbourne over its rivals and it was Victoria's goldminers who introduced Chartist principles such as male franchise and secret ballots to the politics of Australia.

The Welcome Stranger Nugget

Moliagul Church
Moliagul Church

Largest gold nugget in the world was found

Of all the forms taken by gold, nuggets generate the greatest excitement. The Welcome Stranger nugget was the largest in the world.

While nuggets have been found in gold fields in most Australian states, those from Victoria were particularly large and abundant.

The small town of Moliagul became famous when a 69-kilogram gold nugget was found in 1869 at Bulldog Gully. That's over 150 lbs!

This huge lump of gold had to be broken into pieces because there were no scales large enough in the whole district to weigh it. It measured 60 centimetres X 30, roughly 24 inches X 12. A big nugget indeed!

Today the Welcome Stranger would be worth over four million dollars.

Names on the Map tell the Story of the Gold Diggers

You can still see on the map names such as Murdering Flat, Chokem Flat, Drunkard's Gully, Cranky Ned's Reef and Dirty Dick's Gully, were these named after real people? What misfortunes were suffered in Deadman's Gully, Bung-eye Gully, and Burying Ground Flat?

Unlucky diggers bestowed names like Poverty Hill and Three Speck Gully to signify the meagre amounts of gold found.

Graphic Gold Rush Names

Signs tell the story

The Diggers gave names to almost every metre of ground on the gold fields.

"Shicer" is an anglicised spelling of "scheisser", a word miners used for a claim that produced no gold and derived from the German verb 'scheissen'.

Parties of diggers who were not having much luck would drink a toast "To our last bloody shicer!", in the hope that they would soon dig a successful hole.

There's a good time a comin', boys, a good time a comin',

Not a shicer shall be sunk, nor a digger ever seen drunk,

And there's a good time a comin'...

Getting the right tools

Getting the right tools
Getting the right tools

Blood on the Southern Cross

Sovereign Hill, Ballarat

Recreation of the Gold Rush Days

Sovereign Hill is an incredibly popular tourist attraction in Victoria, and certainly my favourite place to go.

I went first with my children, these days I take the grandchildren.

It's a fabulous re-creation of the hustle and bustle of life in Ballarat in the 1850s. Set on a former goldmining site, the compound has more than 60 buildings, while over 200 people volunteer to dress in period costume on a regular basis.

You can do all the traditional activities like pan for real gold, buy boiled sweets from the confectioner's, ride in horse-drawn carriages, travel underground on a tour of the Red Hill Mine, or simply observe the working and living conditions that existed last century.

Sovereign Hill Scene

Sovereign Hill Scene
Sovereign Hill Scene

Plenty of Gold left

Hidden gold worth $32bn

1000 tonnes of gold worth more than $32 billion could lie in a region north of Bendigo.

The estimates may be conservative because the study was restricted to gold in quartz veins and excluded deposits in river sediments and gravels.

Since the gold rush of the 1850s, more than 2500 tonnes of gold have been produced in Victoria with a current annual production of about seven tonnes.

Full story from the Age newspaper

Record Nugget found in January 2013

162 years into a gold rush and Ballarat is still producing nuggets - and big nuggets at that!

In January, 2013, a whopping 5.5kg gold nugget, just 60cm underground, was found in bush near Ballarat.

The find was unique with the nugget measuring at its longest 220mm, 140mm wide and 45mm at its deepest point. It's valued up to $300,000 AUD. The prospector wishes to remain anonymous..

The nugget was found with a state of the art metal detector called a Minelab GPX-5000, marketed as the best in the world.

Time to buy a metal detector!

Mining Exchange Gold Shop, Ballarat

Central Deborah Gold Mine

A visit down below

I went down the Central Deborah Mine, down, down, under the city streets and along the passageways of an underground working mine

I swear I could feel the weight of all that rock above me and I was pleased to get out again. How men worked down here in earlier times is beyond me, it's frightening enough now with modern lifts and lighting.

A very charming man, with the same surname as my mother's family, gave me a guided tour and although I was somewhat nervous down in the depths, I was intrigued to find out that, yes, he was a distant relation. The small world of gold miners!

Central Deborah was the last commercial mine to operate in Bendigo and it re-opened in 1986 for underground tours. Well worth the experience.

Legend of Lasseter's Lost Reef

A great mystery of the Australian Gold fields is the Legend of Lasseter's Reef.

Harold Lasseter was a man whose history and antecedents are shrouded in mystery. Even today debate rages as to the authenticity of his claim that he had found a fabulously rich gold reef, west of Alice Springs, Central Australia, somewhere near the Western Australian border.

To this day, the location of this fabulous wealth remains lost in the forbidding desert of Central Australia.

There are those who dismiss this whole saga, as being one of the great confidence tricks of this century. Others prefer to believe the truth of the legend. In recent years, several expeditions have been mounted to this vast area without success. Innumerable questions remain unanswered.

Perhaps in time, the secret of Lasseter's Reef will be discovered. In the meantime, the Legend of Lasseter continues.

Each and every comment is appreciated. You don't have to be a gold nugget to leave yours

© 2008 Susanna Duffy

Leave a little nugget of feedback

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    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 

      5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Good Stuff. Thank you. Cheers mate

    • dsr485 profile image


      5 years ago

      I lived in Dunolly for awhile (which is next to the town where the welcome stranger was found). My father was an avid gold prospector. Nice lense!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      In switzerland, we appreciate gold. This one is very interesting !!!!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I live in California and we have our Gold Rush story too. Not too many states in the U.S have gold. Alaska is experiencing a sort of new Gold rush because of the prize of gold now.

    • ShazTapp profile image


      6 years ago

      Ah yes, there's gold in them thar hills! I can't wait to get back to Victoria for a visit. I use to visit my grandparents in Euroa regularly in the 60's. Guess a lot has changed since then.

    • Richardryder profile image

      Risteard O'Marcahain 

      6 years ago from Wales

      I think I'll pack my bags

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      We have gold in Limousin, S W France although I haven't tried panning for it yet. Great lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      I was thinking and planing for vacation in Melbourne and these facts which are you discuss above is awesome and now I am crazy about explore these destinations.

      Thanks and regard

      India Tourism

    • SidneyMorgan LM profile image

      SidneyMorgan LM 

      7 years ago

      One of the Interesting fact about welcome stranger nugget is that At the time of the discovery there were no scales capable of weighing a nugget of this size and it was broken into three pieces.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      I saw your Lens. It's Fabulous. glad to read your news. Would love to read more news from your site. Waiting for your next post..

      Best of luck..

    • CruiseReady profile image


      7 years ago from East Central Florida

      I was giggling a little at the sound of "Nuggetty Flat"

      The Welcom Stranger nugget looks to me like a cow with a big fat tail. Guess imagination is running wild this morning.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      If I had a nugget like that, I'd buy a house and a car and still have some $$$ left over

    • RawBill1 profile image


      7 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Awesome Lens. I have panned for gold a number of times over the years at Sovereign Hill. I went there a few times as a child and have in recent years taken my children there too. I have also panned for gold in Walhalla in Gippsland and have visited Central Deborah Gold Mine as well. Congrats on LOTD. I hope to achieve this award someday too!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting lens and congrats on LOTD!

    • anka05 profile image


      7 years ago

      nice to find out about places you never thought they exist!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Great lens, we all need to find a gold nugget, make life a little easier

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on your LoTD. I particularly like it as I am an Aussie and it's great to see lenses written about Australia. Great job.

    • kwhiting644 lm profile image

      kwhiting644 lm 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens. Congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Seems a wonderful place to visit. Congratulations!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      great pictures and congrats on LOTD. My dad was a copper miner before the miner's strike and all the mines were shut down.

    • BlueStarling profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting and enjoyable lens! Congrats on LoTD - well deserved.

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 

      7 years ago from Sydney Australia

      LOTD is a well deserved acknowledgement of this great page!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is so interesting, Susanna!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Congratulations on LOTD. Very intriguing article on a subject near and dear to my heart ;)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a great lens - love the old stories and the yays and woes behind place names. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this so much. Inspiring and so beautiful! Thanks for sharing this.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome Lens Of The Day!!! Very inspiring, you go girl!

    • pheonix76 profile image


      7 years ago from WNY

      Great story!!! :D One of my Grandpa's cousins used to own a gold mine in Alaska...needless to say, he is loaded, lol! I really like this lens and want to wish you a hearty congrats on LOTD.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Susanna - congrats on your LotD. It's a well told story and deserves this award.

      I once read a book that described descending into the depths of a gold mine in Africa. As fascinating as it would be to see, I just couldn't do it. I went on a tour of a cave in the Missouri Ozarks once years ago -- perfectly safe, lots of room - guided -- the whole bit. I was absolutely 'petrified' the entire time! Never knew I had any kind of claustrophobia until then, but (logical or not) I could not get rid of the feeling the 'cave' ceiling was going to fall in and crush me! LOL. NOT! So, thanks for the tour of the Victoria gold region and that of the gold mine tour, because virtual is as close as I can ever come. :-)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I would love to have a gold digger metal detector. Fun lens! Congrats on lens of the day!!

    • mariaamoroso profile image


      7 years ago from Sweden

      North to Alaska - we go north the rush is on. Thinking of that movie. Nuggets are wanted.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 

      7 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Proud lens. Congrats on lens of the day.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I truly enjoyed this lens and the history it contains. I would love to see a lens on the man Lasseter. I think his story would be fascinating...maybe material for a future lens?? Thanks so much for sharing.

    • mactech lm profile image

      mactech lm 

      7 years ago

      Gold is a great hedge against all sorts of financial markets turbulence. Nice pictures - makes me want to start digging!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice Picture Great Lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      How to sell your gold?

    • Paul Ward profile image


      7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      To be selfish, I'm glad your gggf failed in Ballarart - else we wouldn't be getting these great lenses :)

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      7 years ago

      What an interesting piece of history! Congratulations on LOTD, well deserved.

    • MrWidemouth profile image


      7 years ago

      I love the old pictures :)

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Fabulous walk down the past but you wouldn't get me going down no mine so admire you for that.

    • Carmel Aaron profile image

      Carmel Aaron 

      7 years ago

      To the Queen of Lenses. Thanks again for another Gold Winner. This is fabulous.

      Thumbs up...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations are in order, its nice to see this page get LotD! I thought it was deserving on the high award before, and I'm glad that someone else thought so too. I do love yellow gold.

    • BrahmM profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! I live in Johannesburg, a gold mining area with some of the deepest mines in the world!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats for the Lens of The Day.

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 

      7 years ago

      It wasn't just science that led me into geology, I love stories like yours!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. Congrats on the LOTD

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      7 years ago from France

      Really interesting lens. It caught my imagination because Limousin, our area of S W France is a gold mining area and even today you can pan for gold in the rivers and streams. Think it would take some time, though, to get really rich!

    • davidber profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens, thanks!

    • davidber profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens, thanks!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      7 years ago

      Great lens... and a family experience, congrats for LOTD, I'll feature on my Body lens. I like your resources and historic facts.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great information. Congrats on LOTD!

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Great my youth living in California we use to go and pan for gold...I had a vile full and lost is life!

    • justholidays profile image


      7 years ago

      I've heard on TV that Australia has reopened gold mines and that many many foreigners come to work in your gold mines. They said that those gold mines also revive old towns...

      Now, you taught me that there are ways to just enjoy a stay in this area and it looks that it's really worth the travel to your amazingly beautiful country.

      Congratulations on your LOTD and thanks for the trip!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      7 years ago from Concord VA

      Interesting lens. Congratulations on LotD!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD.

      The yellow metal gold finds admirerssnu in every remote part of earth, no wonder their are tales of people who went on excursions for treasure hunting since ancient times.

    • Srena44 profile image


      7 years ago

      nice lens...

    • arpak12 profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on LotD. Now, I've got some digging to do!

    • Bercton1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Good stuff...Congratulations on LOTD

    • awestricken1 profile image

      Ken Parker 

      7 years ago from Tacoma, Wa

      I went panning for gold last weekend. I didn't have any luck. I love the lens.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      7 years ago from Washington KS

      Fascinating lens!! What a thrill it would be to find a gold nugget of any size.

      Congrats on LOTD.

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 

      7 years ago

      This is fascinating. Congratulations on your feature. Well deserved!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Congrats on LOTD! I'd love to visit to visit Victoria. Lately I have been very interested in gold prospecting. It has been fascinating reading the history and visiting some of the gold mines here in Colorado. There used to be a gold mine up on one of the mountains behind my home. Thanks for another great lens!

    • seeker2011 lm profile image

      seeker2011 lm 

      7 years ago

      A friend and I went gold prospecting up near Mount Disapointment where he lived, which is not that far from Ballarat. It lived up to its name, but we had a great time panning for gold and the experience. My Great great grandfather made it well in Ballarat in the latter part of the 1850's and owned the Clyde Hotel, we think from his prospecting.

    • cdcraftee profile image

      Christine Larsen 

      7 years ago from South Australia

      Congratulations Susanna....a beautiful view of an absolute favourite spot in Victoria.

      Your g-g-g-Grandfather would be proud of the pure Gold you have found!


    • gordon-bruce-art profile image


      7 years ago

      I used to live in Melbourne and I visited Sovereign Hill when i was a kid. I enjoyed it a lot

    • garishwasil lm profile image

      garishwasil lm 

      7 years ago

      Congratz for becoming LotD.

    • Pip Gerard profile image

      Pip Gerard 

      7 years ago

      Yay!!! a LOTD about my home state... couldn't feel more prouder or more patriotic! And it thrills me that it's by you... Squidoo's most prolific Aussie supporter! Congrats Susan :) â¥â¥

    • howtocurecancer profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats for the LoTD.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens about Victoria and our goldfields. Sovereign Hill is a good place to take the kids and grandkids - great fun and very interesting.

    • pramodbisht profile image


      7 years ago

      nice lens

    • CarynJSwift56889 profile image


      7 years ago

      I learned a lot from this lens, thanks

    • SheilaVine LM profile image

      SheilaVine LM 

      7 years ago

      I want to search for gold but you are too far away. Boo Hoo

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I live in The Central Goldfields region, so you are writing about home here! I know of one couple who made a living from gold detecting, built their house from the income too.

      Congratulations on LOD - woot woot!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      7 years ago

      Cool - congrats - have been gold panning myself at Hell's gate - lots of fun

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting.. I love things about gold mining and gems :)

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      A lot of gold mining done in Australia in its early settlement years.

      Congrats on the lot!

    • GonnaFly profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      A couple of years ago, our family went to Sovereign Hill and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - including finding the three specks of gold while panning.

    • abbs002 profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! Great Lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent! I love this place. Last I heard there was 80 billion worth of gold in Victoria alone.

      Then there was Western Australia, that does not compare to that Government survey.

      Infact, the survey promised hope for a Gold rush worldwide. Malachite the size of fists on the Victorian platue. Coloured pebble gems scatterered on the grounds near Mt Isa.

      Let's not forget, years ago, the apparant aptly named creak in Victoria either, Diamond creak.

    • Retro Loco profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Interesting topic on gold mines in Australia. Loved the history! Congrats on LOTD. ;-)

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 

      7 years ago

      I think I'm getting a gold fever now :) Congratulation on LOTD. Well deserved.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. Thanks.

    • Airinka profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on Lotd! Very interesting lens with nice pics.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Whoa! 69 kilos of gold!!! I bet whoever found the lump fainted upon seeing it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well done on lens of the day - good read.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You have written a lovely lens here. G'day from SA

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 

      7 years ago

      Congrats on LotD, gold is an interesting topic. Good lens, good work. See you around the galaxy...

    • jeremecausing profile image

      Jereme Causing 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      to find gold,, ... you need to follow the rainbow(just kidding :D)

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      7 years ago

      Gripping lens - just like the gold rush, it kept the attention throughout. Well done on LotD.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Some great nuggets here, congratulations on LOTD and on that great comment from SquidooKimberly...W00t!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice Job on LotD.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Its lovley to see that some old pastimes still bring joy today, just like your lenses. keep writing and we keep smiling.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You have so many wonderful lenses about your home, it's quite an inspiration (and checklist?) for others. When someone says they have nothing local to write about, I just send them to you! Keep on doing great things, we love reading them.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 

      7 years ago

      I panned for gold once in Alaska, I didn't get anything, but it was still fun!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow...will search for gold, too. This travel lens is fun.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow...will search for gold, too. This travel lens is fun.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      7 years ago

      The fascination with gold is live even today... don't you think?

      Great lens I lensroll to my lens "Ghost Town Bodie"


    • rt8ca profile image


      7 years ago

      Well put together lens. Enjoyed reading about Lasseter's Lost Reef.


      Keep up the good work, drop by my travel tips website at:


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Australia is one of my dream place to visit someday. Thanks for sharing some infos about Victoria!


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