Gold nugget coin honours prospectors

THE Perth Mint’s 2001 Australian Nugget 1oz gold coin celebrates Australia’s first payable gold find and rewrites a piece of prospecting history.

The proof coin is the first in the five-year Prospector Series that celebrates aspects of the Australian Gold Industry.

“This year, being the 150 anniversary of the first payable gold find, the coin commemorates that find,” Perth Mint public affairs manager Alison Puchy said.

The 2001 coin will be launched at the Australian Gold Conference on April 9 in Perth.

The coin correctly attributes the Tom brothers and H A Lister as the men who discovered Australia’s first payable gold, not Edward Hargraves as history books have suggested.

The coin is the highlight in a range of coins, medallions, natural nuggets, jewellery and combination sets created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Australia’s first gold rush.

On April 7, 1851 local brothers William and James Tom and their neighbour H A Lister discovered Australia’s first payable gold at a site later named Ophir, 28 kilometres north east of Orange, NSW.

These three men were associates of Hargraves, the man erroneously acknowledged as the prospector who discovered Australia’s first payable gold find.

Hargraves was actually a veteran of the Californian goldfields who returned to Australia in 1851 and travelled to central-western NSW in search of gold.

It was here he met John Lister and the Tom brothers, who he later taught how to “pan” or “cradle” for gold, techniques he had learnt on the US goldfields.

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