Gold rush for amateur gold-digger in Australia


An unnamed Australian man has found an astonishingly large gold nugget - weighing 5.5kg. He confounded the traditional laws of prospecting by unearthing the massive nugget with a hand-held metal detector near the town of Ballarat in the state of Victoria.

So what is it worth, and is this the most unusual thing detector fans have uncovered?

The nugget

The gold, which is worth around £197,000, was just 60cm underground. It has come as a real shock because the area has been scoured by prospectors for over 150 years and nothing of this size has been found before.

He told the Ballarat Courier: "A finding like this gives people hope. It's my dream to find something like that, and I've been prospecting for more than two decades." The local gold dealer said it was likely to give rise to a gold-rush in the area.

A video of the nugget has since been posted to YouTube.

Odd finds

It's certainly a strange find, but the unusual is nothing new to metal detector aficionados. Here are some of the odd things dug up by hobbyists.

A WWII bomb - found by a seven-year-old boy in Kings Lynn in December, using the metal detector he got for Christmas. He dug it up and took it home to his dad who was cleaning it when he realised what it was.

A diamond ring. Karen Woolley, from Thrumpton, Nottinghamshire found a 100-year-old diamond ring with a metal detector in 2011. The strange thing was that it was inside Barney, her cocker spaniel cross miniature poodle, and it was a family heirloom that had gone missing.

Yesterday on the Gold Coast, Derek and Julie-Ann Crossley of Helensvale found two rifles buried on a beach. Both were in good condition and were likely to have been recently buried by someone who was hoping no-one would come across them.

Less strange than extraordinary was the Staffordshire Hoard, found by Terry Herbert in a farmer's field in 2009. It included approximately 3,500 pieces - including up to 5 kg of gold, and is the largest treasure of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever discovered.

Herber eventually split a reward of £3.2 million with the farmer who owned the field, it was paid by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery who bought the hoard.

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