In the vast and diverse landscape of Western Australia (WA), a unique treasure lies hidden – gold nuggets. These gold pieces, or chunks, have been the target of prospectors for over 150 years, sparking a fever known as the Gold Rush. Although it s rare for people to find large gold nuggets in Western Australia these days, these are a steady stream of news articles of both professional and amatuer gold prospectors findling life changing gold nuggets in WA.
Major Gold Localities in Western Australia
Gold in Western Australia was first identified in ore specimens from the Murchison lead and copper deposits. Over the years, the region has seen numerous prospectors, leading to the establishment of various gold fields. Although, the state is known for its massive annaul gold production, large gold nuggets in Western Australia remain a rarity.
Locations where you can find gold in Western Australia
- Halls Creek: The discovery of gold at Halls Creek in 1885 marked the beginning of the gold rush in Western Australia. The find was made on Christmas Day 1885, by a prospector called Charlie Hall, who found a huge 28-ounce (nearly 1 kilogram) gold nugget at a site that would eventually be named after him.
- Golden Mile, Kalgoorlie: The Golden Mile is considered one of the richest gold deposits in the world. Discovered by prospectors Patrick Hannan, Tom Flanagan, and Dan Shea in 1893, this find led to the establishment of the town of Kalgoorlie. Although the Golden Mile is not known for big gold nuggets, it is the biggest gold producting region in Western Australia and the world’s largest open pit gold mine.
- Coolgardie: Gold was discovered at Coolgardie by prospectors Arthur Bayley and William Ford in 1892.The find sparked a gold rush, with the town’s population peaking at 15,000 in 1898.
- Pilbara Gold Rush: The Pilbara Gold Rush was initiated by the discovery of gold in the Pilbara region. The rush led to the establishment of several towns, including Marble Bar, which is known for its extremely high temperatures.
- Murchison Gold Rush: The Murchison Gold Rush (1891) was sparked by the discovery of gold at Cue by Michael Fitzgerald and Edward Heffernan. The rush led to the establishment of several towns in the region, including Cue, Meekatharra, and Mount Magnet.
Note: Before you start looking got gold nuggets in Western Australia, you will need to get a Miner’s Right from the Department of Mines.
Biggest Nuggets Found in Western Australia
The Golden Eagle Nugget
The Golden Eagle Nugget holds the title for the largest gold nugget ever found in Western Australia. Discovered at Larkinville, near the now long-abandoned town of Widgiemooltha, just south of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, this gold piece weighed in at a whopping 1136 troy ounces of gold. Today, a replica of the nugget can be seen at the School of Mines Rock and Mineral Museum in Kalgoorlie.
Apart from the Golden Eagle Nugget, Western Australia has been the site of numerous notable gold finds. These include the Ausrox Nugget, the Golden Stonefish Nugget, and the Normandy Nugget. Each of these gold lumps has its own unique story and significance in the history of gold in Western Australia.
The Normandy Nugget:
Found in a dry creek bed in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia in 1995. This sparkling hunk of gold nugget weighing in at 899 ounces and is currently on display at The Perth Mint.
The “King of Gold” Nugget
The 93-kilogram King Henry contains about 1,400 ounces (45 kilograms) of gold and was discovered in 2018 in the Beta Hunt underground mine in Kambalda, Western Australia. Although It is not classified as a true nugget, but it is a gold specimen. A gold-entrusted rock *that was pulled from an underground reef (gold rich quartz vein). It is said to be one of the largest of its type and potentially the largest still in existence and on public display.
Gold Prospecting and Metal Detecting For Gold Nuggets
Gold prospecting in Western Australia basically involves gold prospectors using metal detectors, a tool of choice for many prospectors. Metal detecting allows for the efficient scanning of the ground for potential gold-infused quartz or gold deposits. Almost all of the goldfields of Western Australia are covered with highly mineralised soils, making it very important touse a good quality metal detector.
This highly minerlised soils can mask the sound of gild nuggets in the top few centre. Although these top-end metal detectors are expensive, there are quite a few metal detector retailers in Perth, Kalgoorlie and the Pilbara that will allow you rent the detector on a daily basis so you have the best possible chance of going home with a gold nugget.
The most popular metal detectors in use in Western Australia at the moment, in the search for gold nuggets are :
The Minelab GPX 6000
The Minelab GPX7000
These detectors are “battested tested” and are used by the mjority of full-tike gold prospectors in Western Australia. They have the ability to “punch” through the mineralized soil to find you find the smallest gold nuggets, with nuggets being as small as 0.1 grans being regularly found.
If the metal detector you are using can find a 0.1 gram gold nugget, if will definitely find a gold nugget that is bigger in size. You can only image how a nugget the size of the Golden Eagle Nugget would sound in a modern day metal detector.
Gold hunting is not just about the search for gold; it’s also about the experiences and stories that come with it. From the thrill of finding a gold nugget to the challenges faced in the harsh Australian outback, these stories add a personal touch to the world of gold prospecting.
The Current State of Gold Prospecting in Western Australia
Even today, Western Australia remains a rich gold region. Prospectors continue to find nice nuggets here, contributing to the local economy and tourism. The enduring allure of gold prospecting in Western Australia suggests a promising future for this age-old practice.
The world of gold prospecting in Western Australia is as diverse and fascinating as the landscape itself. From the history of gold discoveries to the personal experiences of prospectors, it offers a unique glimpse into a practice that has shaped the region. As the search for gold continues, so does the enduring legacy of the Gold Rush in Western Australia.