Model of the Welcome Nugget discovered in Victoria in 1858

Made by Unknown (person) in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1858-1885.

Public interest in the gold rushes of the 1850s had not flagged by the 1880s, when this Museum was in its infancy. The Welcome Nugget and a few other very large lumps of gold had acquired almost legendary status and represented the ultimate ‘get rich quick’ story for their finders. But the nuggets themselves were too precious to preserve, and most had been melted down not long after being found. Hence museums displayed models like this one to let their visitors gain an idea of what the nuggets l...


Object No.


Physical Description

Plaster of paris model 'No.138 Welcome'. Painted gold and green with noggly surface. The original nugget was found at Bakery Hill, Ballarat on 10 June 1858. With a gross weight 2195 ounces, it was valued at 8780 pounds sterling. Original label reads: 'Many nuggets have been found on Australian gold fields since 1851, particularly in Victoria, due to the alluvial nature of gold deposits there. The Welcome Nugget was found at Ballarat, Victoria in 1858. The nugget on display is a replica.'


Numbered '138' in 4 places



200 mm


540 mm


270 mm



Unknown (person) 1858-1885



'The 'Welcome Nugget' was found on 15th June, 1858 by a party of twenty-two Cornish miners at the Redhill Mining company's claim Bakery Hill, Ballarat. The nugget was discovered in the roof of a tunnel 180 feet (55 metres) underground. The nugget was jagged and pitted in shape and weighed 2,217 ounces 16 pennyweight. (68.98 kg). It was sold for 10,500 pounds sterling ($21,000) and exhibited in Melbourne until March 1859, when it was re-sold. This time however, the nugget brought only 9,325 pounds ($18,650) and was said to weigh 2,195 ounces (68.28 kg). It appears that 22 ounces 16 pennyweight (0.7 kg) of gold was removed from the nugget after its initial sale at Ballarat. The nugget was melted down in London in November 1859.

Other models of the nugget were held by the (since closed) Mining Museum in Sydney and (of the nugget as sold in 1859) in the Melbourne Museum. Photographs of the discoverers of the nugget are in La Trobe Library, Melbourne. This model of the nugget was purchased as part of a larger collection of 15 model nuggets from James White for 9 pounds 10 shillings in 1885.

The model was displayed in a Victorian International Exhibition.


White, James 1858-1885

Collected (natural history)



Credit Line

Purchased 1885

Acquisition Date

24 October 1885

Cite this Object


Model of the Welcome Nugget discovered in Victoria in 1858 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 October 2018, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Model of the Welcome Nugget discovered in Victoria in 1858 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 October 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Store 2 at the Museums Discovery Centre.


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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