Dunolly Museum

Dunolly Museum

Dunolly Museum is home to Goldfields Historical and Arts Society and Welcome Stranger, the world's biggest alluvial gold nugget found nearby at Moliagul in 1869.

The Society holds numerous unique records and information with a large collection of relics both wondrous and strange.


Welcome Stranger

The following is John Deason's account of the discovery of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget as signed by him (with his mark) in November 1905.

It was between 9 and 10 am the fifth of February 1869. I was at work picking the surface for puddling and put the pick in the ground and felt what I thought was a stone. The second blow struck in the same way and the third time also.

I scraped the ground with the pick and saw gold; then I cleared away further and right round the nugget. There was a stringy-bark root going right across it and a small bit of gold stood up and the root of the stringy bark ran through this. I tried to prise the nugget up with the pick but the handle broke. I then got a crowbar and raised the nugget to the surface. It weighed nearly three hundred weight.

At first there was much quartz with the gold. As the nugget lay in the ground the solid piece of gold was underneath and it was deep in the ground but the top of the nugget was not more than an inch below the surface. The nugget was about 18 inches long by 16 inches wide and about 16 inches deep. My mate, Richard Oates, was working a short distance below the puddling machine in his paddock and I sent my son down to call him. When my mate came I said 'what do you think of it Dick. Is it worth 5000 pounds? 'Oh' he said, 'more like 2000 pounds'. We then got the dray and lifted the nugget into it and carted it down to my hut, which stood about one and a half chains to the north of the old puddling machine. We took it out of the dray and put it in the fireplace, built a good fire on it and kept it burning for about 10 hours, leaving it to cool for 2 hours.

We sat up all night breaking it free from the quartz. My wife, my mate and myself were the only people who saw the nugget as it was first found. When it was cold we broke 70 lbs of quartz away from it. Besides detached pieces of gold, there was one solid piece of it that weighed 128 lbs (troy). This was on the bottom of the nugget as it lay in the ground. There was a great deal of loose gold when the quartz was broken off.

The 70 lbs of quartz broken away had coarse and fine gold through it. It was taken to Mr Edward Udey's battery close by and a load of other quartz with no gold in it was crushed with it and 60 ozs of smelted gold obtained. Several small pieces of gold and quartz were broken off and given to friends after the burning. About 5 ozs of gold was given away and this has never been reckoned in with the weight of the nugget as sold to the bank.

I have still a small piece of the gold, the only bit that is left*. The total weight of gold was over 200 lbs (troy). It was put in a calico bag and taken in Mr Udey's spring cart to the London Bank, Dunolly. My mate, Mr Udey, and I went with it.

The gold was smelted and yielded 2280 ozs of gold, over 23 carats fine. The bank paid us 9563 pounds for it.

* Note: This was shown to Mr E.J. Dunn, Director of the Geological Survey. It is a specimen of about 2 to 3 dwts of gold with grey quartz and is a little more than one inch long.

Interestingly, no photo of the Welcome Stranger was ever taken, but replicas were made, based on sketches.

The Welcome Stranger Monument location is well signposted from Moliagul.

Dunolly Museum

The museum is normally open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9.00-3.00.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons 1.30-4.00 are very much hit or miss, do not make plans and expect the museum to be open on Saturday or Sunday.
Admission: Entrance fees to the Museum are $4 per adult and children admitted free. Dunolly is a small town so finding the museum is easy. In the main street, called Broadway, look for the cairn on the footpath with the anvil mounted on top. (The world's largest alluvial gold nugget, the Welcome Stranger, was cut into pieces on this anvil.)
Bus admission (per bus load, but the bus stays outside)
$30 for a commercial group.
$20 for a school group.
$10 for a community group.
Bus tour of the town $20.00
To include your bus trip in a tour of the town, contact John Tully 04 281 78669
Walking tours can also be arranged subject to fitness and weather.

❊ Address ❊

 ⊜  75 Broadway  Dunolly 3472 View Map
75 Broadway DunollyVictoria

❊ Web Links ❊

Dunolly Museum 

Disclaimer: Check with the venue (web links) before making plans, travelling or buying tickets.

Accessibility: Contact the venue for accessibility information.

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Dunolly Museum