Crowds celebrate Welcome Stranger 150th anniversary

Descendents of John Deason and Richard Oates were among those who ventured to Moliagul for the day, re-creating the original photo taken in Moliagul.

Crowds of over 200 people flocked from all over the country to Moliagul last Tuesday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the world’s largest alluvial gold nugget, The Welcome Stranger.

Situated just 15 kilometres outside of Dunolly, Moliagul became famous worldwide in 1869 when The Welcome Stranger nugget, weighing in at over 60 kilograms, was unearthed.

Descendents of the Cornish miners John Deason and Richard Oates were among those who celebrated the milestone last week, with Goldfields Historical & Arts Society president John Tully saying the day was an important one.

“The Welcome Stranger is the world’s largest gold nugget — that’s the sort of thing that resonates throughout the world,” he said.

“People everywhere are interested in gold. The BBC even covered the event, and a gentleman from a French film crew was there on the day and was interested in covering the discovery of gold in the Victorian goldfields.

“The day was very interesting, I think it all went very well.”

In Mr Tully’s speech on the day, he debunked several myths, as well as mentioning a new one.

“Near Mr Deason’s birthplace of Tresco there is an island called Guthers where there are two rocks on top of each other known as Deasons Cap. A legend has built up over the last 150 years that under these rocks lies a gold nugget,” he said.

Whether true or not, no one knows. But Cornwall has fully embraced the Welcome Stranger story, with the largest memorial to Deason and Oates erected at Redruth, near Oates’ birthplace.

Mr Tully said many people dressed up in clothing from the era and there were even fragments of the Welcome Stranger brought along.

For more on this story see Page 6 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, February 12

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