a GOLD nugget worth about $500,000 has been discovered in the wider Ballarat region.
Weighing a whopping 3.66kg, the nugget named Destiny was found by three unnamed prospectors in the Golden Triangle region of Ballarat, Bendigo and Stawell last month.
Sovereign Hill Museums Association deputy chief executive officer Tim Sullivan said the nugget was most likely to have been discovered towards the centre of the triangle.
“It was most likely found somewhere between the Bendigo and Ballarat leg of the triangle,” he said.
“These discoveries show that there are still big nuggets out there in central Victoria.”
Sovereign Hill Gold Museum curator Roger Trudgeon said the discovery was a life-changing event for the prospectors.
“This is a major discovery in the history of gold nuggets found in Victoria and proves there is still gold to be found, even in areas where others have prospected many times,” Mr Trudgeon said.
The Destiny nugget, which is one of the largest to be discovered in Victoria in the last 10 years, is currently on loan to Sovereign Hill.
“We have it for six months,” Mr Sullivan said. “It will be on display during the spring school holidays at the outdoor museum.”
Mr Sullivan said nuggets as large as Destiny were marvels of nature.
“They are rare, precious and exciting to behold,” he said. “And the price goes up simply because of its artistic value and interesting shape.
“There is more interest in the nugget when there is a story behind its find.”
The prospector who found the nugget is said to have been searching for gold from a young age with his father.
In the past few years, the man and two of his friends started seriously looking for gold a couple of days a week.
According to Sovereign Hill, on the day that Destiny was found, the prospector had given up the search due to bad weather.
But during a lull in the rain the prospector gave it one more go. He soon literally struck gold under a clump of foliage around a tree.
Initially, he thought it was a large piece of rock but once he held it in his hands he realised by its weight that it was much more.
He held up the dirty mass in his hand to show his friends but dropped it by mistake.
One of his friends called out “Is it bigger than 10 ounces?” The prospector said, “It’s bloody bigger than 10 ounces”.
Mr Sullivan said the museum had been experiencing a rush of prospectors recently.
“Every couple of months somebody comes in with a piece of nugget,” he said. “The growth in the quality of technology in detectors has helped increase the chances of success quite significantly.”
Mr Sullivan said the Destiny nugget would keep the folklore about gold in the region alive.
“A lot of the stories are about ordinary people discovering gold by fairly ordinary means,” he said. “There are lots of opportunities out there.”