In the 1850s thousands of people traveled to Victoria, Australia in search of fortune as part of the Victorian gold rush. The first recorded discovery of gold in the Moliagul area occured in September 1852.
Two miners, John Deason and Richard Oates originally from Conwell, England, both had small farms and staked a gold mining claim in the area. In February of 1869, Deason was breaking up the soil on the claim when he hit what he thought was a rock. After hitting it a second and third time, he cleared away the soil and unearthed the massive nugget.
Oates was busy plowing in his nearby paddock and was called up by Deason’s son. They covered the nugget and waited until it was safe to remove it and then took it to the Deason’s house.
Deason and Oates, accompanied by a bodyguard of friends, took the nugget into the town of Dunolly and sold it at the London Chartered Bank of Australia. Since there were no scales in the bank big enough to weigh the nugget, it was taken to a local blacksmith’s shop to be reduced in size. It’s believed the nugget as a whole weighed around 241 pounds before it was trimmed.
A large stone obelisk surrounded by a fence commemorates the discovery of the Welcome Stranger.