• Gold-era History

When gold was discovered in regional Victoria in the 1850s, it wasn’t long before word got out, and the result was the gold rush that built the Central Goldfields.

The large regional cities of Bendigo and Ballarat are well known for the beautiful architecture the gold rush afforded them. The smaller towns within the Central Goldfields like Maryborough inherited buildings from this rich and prosperous time, many now housing museums, galleries and great cafés. Known as the Golden Triangle, the area from Ballarat, across to Bendigo and up to Wedderburn, was quite literally rich with gold. World famous for the purity, quantity and size of the nuggets found in the area, eager miners and prospectors flocked to the region in search of their fortune.

Much of the gold uncovered in the Golden Triangle is alluvial – from the bed of a river or a stream, as opposed to digging it from rock ‘reefs’. The world’s largest alluvial gold nugget, the Welcome Stranger, was uncovered in 1869 in Moliagul and the Moliagul Historical Reserve is located at the site today. Moliagul, like other towns in the area, continues to have modern day diggers seeking their fortune, and tours via Coiltek Gold Centre and Golden Nugget Tours can point you in the right direction. However, as yet no one has uncovered a nugget quite the 69kg size of the Welcome Stranger!

The Goldfields Museum in Dunolly has a fantastic replica collection of locally found gold nuggets, including the Welcome Stranger, as well as historical records from this fascinating era.