One of Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink’s favourite leisure activities, Dear Reader, is to grab a gold pan and head to the streams around Ballarat and wade around looking for flecks of alluvial gold. This is always more fun if it’s done in cold, steady drizzle, or blazing mid-summer sunshine.
So far she has managed to find four mosquito bites, an old Coke can, and a husband who prefers to sit on the bank eating ham sandwiches and taking photos of the meadow flowers with his iPhone.
But this would obscure the fact that others are more lucky, especially those peculiar bods wandering around with a stick with a plate on the end of it and a pair of headphones.
A Victorian man is $141, 000 richer today thanks to his wife.
Kerang resident Mick Brown had just given up smoking and was in such a bad mood his wife told him to get out of the house to give her some space.
A seasoned prospector, Brown decided to let off some steam by searching a patch of land near Wedderburn. Wedderburn is a rural town in Victoria, Australia on the Calder Highway, 214 kilometres north of Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne. It is mainly a farming community but its early residents were gold miners and prospectors.
One of the main attractions for tourists is Hard Hill Reserve where, with a bit of imagination, one can feel a sense of what it was like in the ‘old days’ living in tents on the goldfields. Apart from gold, a number of Eucalyptus stills used to operate in the district and a replica still has been situated on the site and is fired up, by arrangement, for tourist buses. On site is one of the original batteries for crushing the ore and removing the gold. A puddler is also on site and a demonstration of it working can be seen during the annual Gold and Heritage Festival held round about the end of February and the beginning of March. The town is a popular spot for hopefuls with gold detectors who are still finding the occasional nice nugget.
But 42-year-old Mick did not expect to find anything having scoured the area many times before without success.
It was his lucky day.
Just 15 centimetres below the surface Brown struck gold, unearthing a 2.7 kilogram nugget.
“I thought, ‘bugger me, it is, it’s bloody gold,” Brown told local media.
“I just dug it up, 87 ounces of the good stuff.”
He has affectionately nicknamed his find “Fair Dinkum” which is Aussie slang for “real”.
Asked what he would do with the money, Brown said he planned to pay off his debts and buy his children a spa. Good luck to him.
Now we just have to persuade Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink that a weekend’s light gardening in the suburbs is more likely to yield more long term personal satisfaction than standing in a stream miles from anywhere, swatting flies.
To learn more about “fossicking” (love that word) in Victoria, head here:
Some of the other big nugget finds in Australia can be seen here: