National Geographic : 1916 Dec
Photograph by C. R . Martin AN AUSTRALIAN GOLD NUGGET COMPARED TO A $20 GOLD PIECE The nugget weighed 2,159 ounces when found at Ballarat, Victoria, on June 15, 1858, and was sold for $50,000 parks were laid out; the University, Pub lic Library, and Museum established; the first Australian railway built, and plans for the future knew no bounds. Reports of panning $Ioo to $200 per day and of finding nuggets worth thou sands of dollars each upset even the most sober-minded. "Farms, shops, ships were alike deserted, not only by men on them, but by their owners and masters. It was shearing time, but there were no shear ers; it seemed like that at harvest time there would be no reapers." Even gov ernment officers and policemen deserted, and order was kept and offices manned by soldiers brought from Tasmania and from England. The workings at Ballarat and Bendigo justified the excitement. For the first ten years, 1852-1861, the output was valued at $486,000,000. From the Victoria field have come 412 gold nuggets, each weigh ing over Ioo ounces, 52 over 500 ounces, and 12 over 1,000 ounces The weight of the "Welcome" was 2,217 ounces and of the "Welcome Stranger," found an inch below the surface, 2,520 ounces, worth $50,000. Queensland's turn came next. One small field after another was developed, until in 1886 the famous Mt. Morgan mine was opened. This wonderful mine, literally a mountain impregnated with gold, began by paying dividends of $2, ooo,ooo a year. In 1889 the stockholders received $5,000,000, and the dividends for the first twenty years amounted to $35,000,000. Although Mt. Morgan con tinues to produce $2,000,000 in gold a year and is a leading factor in Queens land's annual gold production of $5,000, ooo to $o1,o0o,ooo, it is in reality a cop per mine! The gold constitutes the fringe of a mammoth deposit of copper, with reserves estimated at 7,000,000 tons. In several respects it is the most remarkable mine in the world and ranks next to Broken Hill as a dividend-payer. Tasmania had her mining excitement with the discovery of tin at Mount Bisch off (1871), followed by the finding of deposits of gold, copper, and silver.