THE WELCOME STRANGER.
BIGGEST NUGGET KNOWN.
Details of the Discovery.
Weight, 2315 oz.? Value, £9534.
In -a recent issue of W.A. "Truth?' appeared a notice, of the golden wedding of Mr and Mrs John t>eas6nj of Molia§ii; Victojia, which event was' celebrated^ on \Wednesaay, 28th Ulto. This caris to mind the finding of the "Welcome Stranger" nugget, .'thy. largest ever authentically ;V disco.vered. . ■ i The di?coverers-r-John Deason and Kich-. Oates — had known each other ; - from *&oyhqod m Cornwall, and they came out "to Victoria within > a few months of each i other. After* wandering about for a time Mi DeaSop went to Moliagui, and, later, .Blr Oates joined him. Mr Oates being a bachelor lived' with the Deasons m Little Bull Dog Gully— about: l-£ miles soiitb 'of Mount; Moliagui, and eight miles nortu of Dunolly; After mining together f Or a time the two selected a piece of land .handy to the house and cultivated it,, .and. also took up land at Gipsy ; they did not discontinue puddling, but worked the land m their spare time. f ;, In the year of the Gipsy rush— lß6.9-r they were' surf aping on the slope of a small hill near, their house m Little Bull .Dgg Gully. A nine^-pound nugget had been previously got almost on the sjipt where the house stood, and they themselves had found a 34-ounce piece close to same place. From the house they, for over a year, had followed ; a continuous surface ' . ' ' TRAIL OF PAYABLE GOLD up the hill, which led them eventually to the "Welcome Stranger." • On Ffiday, sth Fajruary, 1869, Oates went to work m the paddock, while l)eason got out dirt for a machine. About nine o'clock, while surfacing a few chains from the house, the pick struck something 'hard. He picked m two or three places, and each .time struck a solid body, which he naturally thought to be a large stone. Loosening the earth around it, llx Deason found to his amazement that it was a gia<nt lump of gOW. i^nis wasthenuggefc fpund that afterwards became known to the world as the Stranger.'' It was resting on abed o| stifi j;ed clay, and was only half an inch from tie sUTr fac6,- being covered with but a . thumb's thickness of earth. The spot had often been walked' over before. Mr Deason, after digging around the nugget, attempted to prize it up with the pick, but the handle , broke and he had to go to the house for a crowbar! Whiist there he told Rlrs JDeasSa of the find, and she went to the paddock near by for Oates, telling him that he was ' -wanted." Oates could hardly believe the evidence of his own senses when he founa, what he was "wanted" fot. A lump of gold, . thaty measured about 21 inches by 10 inches lay befoie him. At one part a live stringy bark root ran night through the lump, a solid and unbroken ring of gold completely* encircling it. This, next to ■ the Weight, ' w^s. ' THE "WELCOME STRANGER'S" most remarkable feature, and one that is almost unknown. „ As with the adherent quartz, etc., the nugget then weighed 3cwt., they had to bring up the dray to ,get it to the house. Hardly knowing what to do they at first Sit it m the forge. "That's worth £50t)0,t ick," said Deason. "±12000, " said Oates. : When Weighed aj; the Bank its value proved to be but little short of £10,000 Eventually they wheeled it m a barrow to the fireplace m the house, and. left it m. the fire f6r ten hours to burnx away the debris. They sat round the fire most of the night, each perhaps busy, with his own thoughts, watching the goldfen flames : leaping round the richest lump of gold of which the world has authentic record. . Although it was m the house until the following Tuesday— five days— no one, except Mr and Mrs Deason, their family of three, and, Oates knew of it till the Monday after it was found, although visitors called on the Sunday. On - the Monday a Mr Brown and his wife came over to Deason's, and they were the first outsiders who saw it. On the Tuesday morning following the: find, Messrs Deason, ; Gates, Brown, Endie and McCoy took the nugget m a drag to Dunolly. It, and pieces that had been broken off, were wrapped m calico bags. The main piece WHICH WEIGHED 128L85., was put m a kerosene case, but the botr torn fell through. . 701bs of quartz had been crushed- from the nugget, for liO ounces of gold: this also was taken m. Arriving at the London Chartered Bank, Brown asked the manager how much he would give for , gold by the hundred-: weight. ' The manager stared. "How much will you give for two hundredweight then?" said Brown, and the nugget was produced. As the big piece wastooheavy for the seaGes, it was taken to VVall's blacksmith's shop, and cut with a chisel. The official return for the nugget showed that 98.66 percent, was pure gold. The tptal weight was 23150z. 17dwt. 14grs., and value ±19534. The o«d house m Little Bull Dog Gully is how gone, although a few years ago the cultivation paddock remained. ' In accounts of this discovery, it is usually stated that, at the time,- the finders were hard up and could no longer get creT dit, etc. This is not true, as they had been on a payable rim of gold for many months, had some :ounces of gold m "the house and" a crop of then valuable wheat stacked, and they owed ro man anything. The nugget, nevertheless, was a most "welcome .stranger." , ; For some time after the find MESSRS. DEASON AND OATES continued to work together, then the latter went home to England and returned a married man. A few years' >: back he was living with his family at Woodstock on the Loddon, /tbout. 25 miles from Molia- ' gu!. Mr John Deas.bn still lives with his helpmate at Moliagui^ not on the old place, but at the ifSprinKs" on the other
side of the town— one of the prettiest spots m the district. Sheltered by the "rugged hills from the frosts, they have a nice opange' giove that needs no artiiiciai prbtecliira, and which is now m full bearling. Their family grown up, married and Ikmling good positions, are widely scattered, some m and some m Western Australia. One son lives at Boulder Gity, whSst a daughter , Mrs Robinson, to whom weare indebted for the toregeing, is residing at S/iUiamstown, Kal- - eoeriie. Even befere finding the "Welcome Stran■ger f ' Moilagul had tjuxne.d out some good jiuggets • and several have been found sir.cc. The principal ones are '— Nov.. ,1857, 1040z., by a Chinaman; ■1857, Vloz., Nuggety Gully; 1859, 1 440 oz» Sparks Gully ; 1859, 250z., SparKs 'GulLy • iS&S, 250z., : Spares Gully ; 1860, ,-• 84oz;, Sparks GuUy ; 1860, 320z., Biggs ? - Gully/; 1860,= 300z., Biggs Gully; 1860, Booz. Surface Gully ; 1860, 330z., Biggs ; 1860, 610z.,, Biggs Gully.