Centenary of Gold Discovery Monument – Ballarat, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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Centenary of Gold Discovery Monument

Ballarat, Australia

To commemorate a century of gold mining, this Australian city built a monument that features a replica of a 150-pound gold nugget found there in 1858. 

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Ballarat is the third-largest city in the Australian state of Victoria. The main reason for this is the fact it has been built on the profits of gold. European settlement in the area began as miners in tents searching for their riches, armed with pickaxes and buckets. Gold was first discovered in Ballarat in 1851, and the town grew from there.

This monument was erected to celebrate both the centenary of gold discovery and the birth of Ballarat. It was erected by the Ballarat Historical Society in 1951, and features a replica of a large gold nugget discovered in the area in 1858. Known as the “Welcome Nugget,” the massive hunk of metal weighed in at 2217 troy ounces—for those not familiar with precious metal measuring, that equals 68.98 kilograms or 152.07 pounds. Because of its sheer size, when miners first came across the specimen they reportedly thought they had struck a reef of pure gold.

The Welcome Nugget was transported to Sydney, where it was on display before being transported to London. There, it was exhibited for a time in the Crystal Palace, before the Royal Mint bought it in 1859 and minted gold sovereigns with the metal.

An inscription on the monument lists out notable data from the history of gold mining in Ballarat, including gold yields, nuggets, and the richest recorded yields of mines.

Know Before You Go

The monument is situated in the centre of Ballarat. There is plenty parking nearby although this is ticketed within working hours. Its well worth a visit to Ballarat and overnight stay with many other attractions to see, especially a great historical and art scene.

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