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NameJohn (John Jenkins) DEASON , GGG Grandson, M
Birth1829, Tresco, Isles Of Scilly, Cornwall, England
Death13 September 1915, Moliagul (Registered Dunolly), Victoria, Australia, (8809)
Burial15 September 1915, Moliagul Cemetery, Moliagul, Victoria, Australia
OccupationTin Dresser In 1851, Miner In 1852, Gold Miner
FatherThomas DEASON , M (~1785-1830)
MotherElizabeth JENKIN , F (~1793-1862)
Spouses
1Margaret DAVEY , Spouse of GGG Grandson, F
Baptism20 December 1829, Crowan [Crows-An-Wra], Cornwall, England
Birthabout 1829, Crowan [Crows-An-Wra], Cornwall, England
Burial31 March 1858, White Hills, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
Death30 March 1858, Long Gully, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, (2980)
FatherStephen DAVEY , M (~1803-1863)
MotherHannah POLKINGHORN , F (~1809-1866)
Marriage16 August 1851, Registry Office, Penzance, Cornwall, England
ChildrenGrace Jenkin , F (~1851-1857)
 Margaret , F (1855-1855)
 Sarah , F (~1856-~1856)
 John , M (~1856-1858)
2Catherine McANDREW , Spouse of GGG Grandson, F
Birth22 January 1836, Burntisland, Fife, Scotland
Burial19 September 1921, Moliagul Cemetery, (Grave 200), Moliagul, Victoria, Australia
Death9 September 1921, Golden Square, Victoria, Australia, (10091)
FatherHugh McANDREW , M (1793-1865)
MotherElizabeth (Betsy) LESLIE , F (~1798-1866)
Marriage28 October 1858, Presyterian Manse, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, (4309)
ChildrenThomas , M (1859-1928)
 Hugh McAndrew , M (1860-1861)
 Henry Jenkins (Harry) , M (1862-1932)
 Hugh McAndrew , M (1864-1940)
 Elizabeth (Bessie) (Bess) , F (1866-1953)
 Alfred , M (1868-1933)
 Catherine , F (1870-1935)
 Grace Oates , F (1872-~1956)
 John Edward (Jack) , M (1874-1940)
 James Joseph , M (1876-1950)
 Mary Anne (Mary Ann) , F (1878-1913)
Notes for John (John Jenkins) DEASON
The following is from Greg Campbell’s Deason Tree:

H3 – Life on the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall
John Deason was born about 1829 and, according to tradition, on Tresco, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall. To date, no record has been found of his birth (usually through a baptismal record) on the Isles of Scilly. The Government registration system did not commence in England until 1838.

Although at the time of John’s second marriage in Bendigo, 1858, his stated birthplace was noted as “Penwyth [sic], Cornwall” other records indicate that he was born in Tresco, e.g. 1851 Census records John’s birthplace as “Scilly Isles, Tresco”.

John’s parents were Thomas Deason (born about 1785, died 1830) and Elizabeth Jenkin (born about 1793, died 1862). They married 6 August 1820, Tresco, Isles of Scilly and had four children:
• Elizabeth Deason (c1821-1821);
• Grace Deason (c1822->1881);
• Thomas Deason (c1826-1843);
• John Deason (c1829-1915).

John Deason’s father’s line
John’s father, Thomas, was born on Tresco in 1785 and died there in 1830. He was one of nine children to John Deason (born about 1741, died 1812) and Elizabeth Nichols or Nicholls (born about 1746, died 1825) - both of Tresco. And John’s parents were Thomas Deason (born about 1700, died before 1742) and Mary Lakey (born about 1700, died after 1741) – both probably of Tresco. For more information on earlier generations refer to specific individuals.

John Deason’s mother’s line
John’s mother, Elizabeth, was probably born on Tresco about 1793 and died in Madron, Cornwall, 1862.

Elizabeth’s parents were Walter JENKIN (c1757-1804/1841) and Grace PENDER (c1758-1852), married 5 October 1782, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England. They had seven children:
• Mary Jenkin (c1783-?);
• Henry Jenkin (c1789-?,
• Elizabeth Jenkin (c1793-1862);
• Charles Jenkin (c1796-?);
• Grace Jenkin (c1799-?);
• Walter Jenkin (c1801->1841); and
• John Jenkin (c1804-?).
For more information on the JENKIN and PENDER families see Section.

Tresco
John’s father, Thomas died in September 1830 as a result of drowning when the pilot boat Hope foundered after returning from St Martins. Five out of the eight crew of the pilot boat (referred locally to as a ‘gig’) were drowned. Other than Thomas (noted as age 46 years) , the deaths included: James Jenkin, age 67 years; Charles Jenkin, age 35 years; and John Odger, age 54 years. All were buried on 27 September 1830. The school-teacher and the parish priest were among the survivors. Further research required – determine relationship, if any, of those drowned to Deasons.

It is difficult to determine for how long John Deason’s family remained on Tresco after his father’s death. Certainly they had moved to mainland Cornwall by 1840. Conditions on the Isles of Scilly became untenable and in 1834 a new landlord, Augustus Smith, took over the running of the Isles. He evicted many islanders on the basis that the islands were over-populated and compelled children of larger families to find work on the mainland. Those least able to support themselves were the first to go. He built a new home and garden within the grounds of the ruins of Tresco Abbey. This was complete in 1838 but did require the demolition of three islander homes - all belonging to Jenkins families.

One pointer to the possibility of the family remaining on Tresco for a reasonable period is that records in England and Australia indicate that John Deason may have been literate – he certainly could sign his name,. John may have attended the Anglican Church school that had been established on Tresco in 1752 to help the islanders. In the mining areas of mainland Cornwall it is unlikely that access to education would have been possible as this was before the days of compulsory education. So a move to the mainland closer to 1840 may well be the likely scenario.
New start in St Just area
By 1840, John’s mother, Elizabeth, had moved to mainland Cornwall with the children. The eldest child, Grace, took-up work as a domestic servant and by 1841 was working in Paul (for more information – see Error! Reference source not found.) and Thomas and John went to work at the mines near St Just in Penwith (for more information on Thomas – see Error! Reference source not found.).

On 22 February 1840, Elizabeth Deason married Philip BONETTO (c1793-1847) at St Just-in-Penwith, Anglican Church. Philip was noted as age: 47 years; a “bachelor”; occupation: miner; residence: Carrack; father: Philip Benetto [sic], a “miner”. Elizabeth was noted as age: 46 years; a “widow”; residence: Carrarack [sic]; father: Walter Jenkins, a “farmer”. They were married by the Rev. John Walker; witnesses: James Hall and John Tregear. Both Philip and Elizabeth made their mark “X”. Note: the marriage certificate incorrectly recorded Elizabeth’s surname as “Deaken” and Philip’s surname was incorrectly indexed under “Bennet”.

Cararack
The family appear to have settled in the nearby village of Cararack.

Cararack was situated 2.5 kilometres north of St Just, originally an agricultural tenement forming part of Botallack Manor. However, with onset of mining:
… The focus of the settlements, however, had by 1841 moved south to Cararrack, were there was a scatter of new cottages and a public house. The siting and orientation of the cottages here may also have been determined by the presence of the roughly east-west lode dumps of earlier mining activity. …
The miner’s of Cararack probably worked in the same mines as those in nearby Botallack, the major ones: the Crown Mine; Wheale Owles; Wheal Boys and Parnoweth. By the 1860’s most mining had ceased and by 1884 “Carrarrack” was noted as simply – “22 acres” – as if referring to a farm. Only ruins of the miner’s cottages and hotel – Queen’s Arms - exist today as part of Botallack Farm.
Note: other records (parish registers, etc) refer to this location as “Carrarrack”, “Carrarack”, "Carrarack” and “Carrarracke” and “Carallack”. In addition, Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage record of 1840 refers to the location as “Carrack”.

The 1841 Census recorded:
Parish of St Just, village: Cararack [spelling is not clear]
Philip Bonetto, age 45 years, miner, born in County
Elizabeth Bonetto, age 45 years, born in County
Thomas Deason, age 15 years, miner, born in County
John Deason, age 12 years, tin dresser, born in County.

The 1841 Census indicates that Cararack was a small village consisting of only 14 households; with at least one shop; and while most householders were noted as miners, two were noted as farmers.
The 14 Cararack households recorded in the 1841 Census were (note: ages shown in brackets):
• • William Hicks (20), miner, wife Ann (30) and children: Elizabeth (5); William (2) and Mary (1 month)
• • Thomas May (35), miner, wife Margery (50) and children: Mary (15); Thomas (15); unclear (15); John (13); Samuel (7)
• • William Thomas (45), farmer, wife Kezia (40) and children: Elizabeth (12); William (10); Thomas (5)
• • Thomas Thomas (45), miner, wife Honor (40); and children: Elizabeth (15); James (15); Thomas (14); John (12); Ann (10); Honor (6); William (4). Also in same household William Long (55), miner and Thomas Long (40), miner
• • John Thomas (70), wife Elizabeth (60) and children John (30), miner
• • Tommy Williams (30), miner, wife Rebecca (24) and children: William (3) and Henry (1). Also in same household William Davey (20), miner
• • Philip Bonetto (45), miner, wife Elizabeth (45) and children Thomas Deason (15), miner and John Deason (12), tin dresser
• • Jane Newton (70) shopkeeper and Mary Newton (13), shopkeeper
• • Phillis Davies (60), miner
• • Henry Newton (45), farmer, wife Martha Newton (40) and children: Jane (15); William (10); Martha (12); Eliza (8); Amelia ((6); James (5); Henry (3)
• • William Eddy (50), miner, wife Rebecca (50) and children: Ann (15); Thomas (13), miner; Richard (8)
• • John Pollard (40), farmer, wife Esther (35) and children: John (14); Esther (11); William (9); Thomas (6); Emily (4); Maria (2). Also in same household: Thomas Eddy (20), miner; Mary Eddy (15), miner; John Pollard (25), miner
• • Richard Oats (30), miner, wife Elizabeth (25) and children: William (3); Thomas (7 months)
• • Patience Ellis (50) and children: Thomas (25), miner; Charles (20), miner; Mary (18), tailor; John (15), miner; Elias (12), miner; Alexander (10). Also in same household: John Williams (20), miner
All of the above were noted as born in Cornwall.
Notes (ages – as noted above – shown in brackets):
• John Pollard (40) came to Victoria in 1855 on the Caldera with his wife and four of their children (Thomas (6), Maria (2), Mary & Joseph (both born after 1841);
• John Pollard’s eldest son, John (14), came to Victoria in 1868 on the, SS Great Britain. His daughter, Esther, married John Deason’s oldest son, Thomas (refer Family History entry for Thomas Deason (1859-1928) for more information);
• Thomas Pollard (6) is probably the Thomas Pollard, miner, living at “Lower Bendigo” on the 1856 Victorian Electoral Roll;
• Oats – this family is not directly related to Richard Oat(e)s who came to Victoria in 1854 and was co-founder of the Welcome Stranger nugget;
• Although the surnames Hicks and Ellis are common on the Isles of Scilly, details recorded in the 1851 Census indicate that William Hicks (snr) was born at Buryan, Patience Ellis was born at Sancreed (her husband probably died prior to 1851) and all their children were born at St Just. As a result, it is unlikely that Elizabeth Deason and family accompanied these families when moving from the Scillies; and
The village of Cararack was still in existence in 1851. Using the 1851 Census it is possible to determine the changes since the time of the 1841 Census (note: 1851 ages shown in brackets):
Ð William (35) and Ann (30) Hicks, along with their children, Elizabeth (14) and William (12) are likely to have moved to Madron where William was a “labourer”;
Ð Thomas and Margery May and family do not appear to be in Cornwall;
Ð William Thomas and family do not appear to be in Cornwall;
Ð Honor Thomas (54) along with children, James (28), John (24), Ann (21), Honor (16) and William (14) are now in nearby Newhouse, the sons noted as “tin miners”. Thomas Thomas (father) probably died before 1851;
Ð John and Elizabeth Thomas cannot be located – it is likely that they had died;
Ð The Williams family cannot be located in Cornwall;
Ð Henry (58) and Martha (51) Newton and children, William (20), Mary (23), Martha (22), James (15), Henry (13), Margaret (10), John (8), Edward (6) are in nearby Botallack where Henry was noted as a “farm labourer; William a “tin miner”; and Mary a “dress maker”;
Ð William (65) and Rebecca (60) Eddy and children, Richard (17) are still in Cararack, where William and Richard are noted as “tin miners”;
Ð John (49) and Esther (46) Pollard and children, Esther (22), William (20), Thomas (16), Emily (14), Maria (12), Mary (9), Joseph (6 months) have moved to nearby Truthwall where John is noted as a “farmer (of 8 acres)”, Esther a “straw bonnet maker” and William and Thomas “tin miners”;
Ð Richard and Elizabeth Oats cannot be located with any certainty. They could be the Richard (43) and Elizabeth (39) in nearby Newhouse, however their children are not consistent with 1841 Census information – the 1851 Census notes children as Richard (15) and William (7) and Richard snr & jnr as “tin miners; and
Ð Patience Ellis (63) and children, Thomas (39), Mary (26), Elias (21) and Alexander (18) are now in Truthwall where the sons are noted as “tin miners” and Mary a “charwoman”.

The period at Cararack would have been a very formative one for John and most likely the place where he first became involved with mining and miners. As noted above, some of the Cararack village people would later meet up with John on the Victorian goldfields and the daughter of one would marry one of John’s sons, Thomas Deason.

Botallack
Just how many years the family spent in Cararack is not known. However, by 1843 the family were living in the nearby mining village of Botallack where Philip Bonetto was noted as a resident of Botallack at the time of the death of John’s brother, Thomas, in September 1843.

Botallack is situated on the main road 2.5 kilometres north of St Just and was one of the oldest tin mining areas in Cornwall; mentioned as early as 1584:
...a little hamlet on the coaste of the Irishe sea, moste visited with Tinners, where they lodge and feed, being nere their mynes”
By the Deason’s time deep seem mines were well established with the Crown Mine, Wheale Owles, Wheal Boys and Parnoweth being the major ones. The Crown Mine’s entrance was on the sea cliff face with deep shafts extending out to sea.

By 1847 the family appear to have fallen on hard times, possibly due to John’s step-father, Philip’s, ill health. Philip Bonetto died 14 December 1847, at the Union Workhouse, Madron, Cornwall; his death certificate recording that he died of “consumption”, was a “miner” and age “55 years”. (These later details are consistent with earlier marriage details of 1840). Workhouse rules required the destitute to walk a fixed distance, usually to an adjoining parish (about 5 miles), in order to qualify for assistance: the Madron Poor-Law Union Workhouse would therefore qualify for those living in the St Just in Penwith parish. Philip was buried three days later, on the 17 December 1847, in St Just in Penwith; the Anglican Parish register noting him as age “55 years” and residence “Union workhouse”
Trewellard
By 1851 the family had moved to the larger mining town of Trewellard, situated on the main road approximately 3 kilometres north of St Just.

Trewellard is situated on the main road about 4 kilometres north of St Just and was one of the largest mining towns in the area. It was originally an agricultural settlement centred on Trewellard Manor at Lower Trewellard. The Levant mine, situated above the sea cliffs, was mentioned as early as 1670 and by the Deason’s time was still the dominant mine in the area; others being: Wheal Carne; Wheal Bal; East Levant and Spearn. The town consisted of two areas: Lower Trewellard and Trewellard Cross with its inn – the Trewellard Arms. The last mine – the Geevor – closed in 1991.

The 1851 Census recorded:
Parish of St Just, Ecclesiastical district of Pendeen, village: Trewellard
Elizabeth Bonetto, head (of household), widow, age: 58 years, occupation: house keeper, born: Isles of Scilly, Tresco
John Deason, son of 1st husband, unmarried, age: 21 years, occupation: tin dresser, born: Isles of Scilly, Tresco.


John & Margaret
John Deason married Margaret Davey on 16 August 1851 at the Register Office, Penzance. John was noted as age: 21 years, a “bachelor”, occupation: “tin dresser”; residence: Trewellard; and father: Thomas Deason, a “fisherman”. Margaret was noted as age: 21 years, a “spinster”, no occupation recorded, residence: Trewellard, and father: Stephen Davey, an “engineman”. Witnesses were James Walter Stevens and James Berryman. John Deason signed his name and Margaret made her mark.

Margaret’s parents, Stephen Davey and Hannah Polkinghorn had 9 children,,:
Ð Margaret Davey (c1829-1858);
Ð Stephen Davey (c1831-?);
Ð Hannah (Anna) Davey (c1834-?);
Ð Mary Davey (c1836-?);
Ð Martha Davey (c1838-?);
Ð Elizabeth Davey (c1840-?);
Ð John Davey (c1844-?);
Ð Thomas Davey (c1846-?); and
Ð Sarah Davey (c1850-?).

Margaret was the eldest child, born about 1829; in Crowan [Crows-an-Wra], Cornwall. Crowan - modern day Crows-an-Wra - is situated about 3 klms north-west of St Buryan; the term “Crows-an-Wra” being Cornish for “cross-roads”. Her father, Stephen, was a miner. Around 1836 the Davey family moved to the St Just area, by 1841 were at Boscaswell and by 1851 at Trewellard, where they remained until their deaths: Stephen in 1863; and Hannah in 1866.

The 1841 census recorded:
Parish of St Just, village: Boscaswell
Stephen Davey, age: 35 years, occupation: miner (copper), born: Cornwall
Hanah [sic] Davey, age: 30 years, born: Cornwall
Margaret Davey, age: 11 years, born: Cornwall
Stephen Davey, age: 9 years, born: Cornwall
Mary Davey, age: 5 years, born: Cornwall
Martha Davey, age: 3 years, born: Cornwall
Elizabeth Davey, age: 11 months, born: Cornwall.

Boscaswell is situated on the main road north from St Just, approximately 1 kilometre north-west of Pendeen. There were separate settlements of Higher Boscaswell and Lower Boscaswell; mines close by named Boscaswell United and North Levant; and agricultural commons referred to as Higher and Lower Boscaswell Downs.

By 1851 the Davey family had moved to Trewellard where the Deason/Bonetto family were living.

The 1851 Census recorded:
Parish of St Just, Ecclesiastical district of Pendeen, village: Trewellard
Stephen Davy [sic], head (of household), married, age: 48 years, occupation: working engineer, born: Crowan
Anna Davy, wife, married, age: 42 years, born: Crowan
Margaret Davy, daughter, unmarried, age: 21 years, occupation: worker at mine, born: Crowan
Stephen Davy, son, unmarried, age: 20 years, occupation: tin dresser, born: Crowan
Anna Davy, daughter, unmarried, age: 17 years, occupation: tin dresser, born Crowan
Mary Davy, daughter, age: 15 year, born: St Just
Martha Davy, daughter, age: 13 years, born: St Just
Elizabeth Davy, daughter, age: 11 years, born: St Just
John Davy, son, age: 7 years, born: St Just
Thomas Davy, son, age 5 years, born St Just
Sarah Davy, daughter, age: 1 year, born: St Just.

It was probably in Trewellard, late 1851, that John and Margaret’s first child, Grace Jenkin Deason, was born (registered Penzance). It is likely that she was named after John’s maternal grand-mother. Grace was baptised at St John the Baptist, Anglican Church on 25 January 1852, Pendeen: John being noted as a “miner”; and parents living in Trewellard,.
H4 - To Australia

In the late 1840s there was a potato famine in Cornwall like that in Ireland. One of the hardest hit areas was Penwith – the westernmost tip of Cornwall (main towns – St Ives, St Just and Marazion).

In 1842 the South Australian town of Kapunda commenced copper mining and soon became the world’s purest source of copper ore. By 1847 there was a South Australian emigration officer in Penzance and by 1849 up to 5% of the population of the Penwith Poor Law Union area had emigrated.

In order to qualify for an assisted passage to South Australia the Deason family were required to meet certain requirements: these were detailed in ‘The Ships List’ website


Passages to Australia 1853
In the March 1853 “Colonization Circular No. 13” there is notice of funds provided to the British Emigration Commissioners, by colonial revenues, for assisted passage, by New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. (also stated, for the moment, is that funds were also available for Western Australia and Van Dieman's Land, but no funds were available for assisting persons wishing to emigrate to the North American Colonies). The rules for those wishing to apply were laid out thus:-

The following are the regulations and conditions under which emigrants are to be selected for passages to the Australian colonies, when there are funds available for the purpose.

Qualifications of Emigrants
1. The emigrants must be of those callings which from time to time are most in demand in the colony. They must be sober, industrious, of general good moral character, and have been in the habit of working for wages, and going out to do so in the colony, of all of which decisive certificates will be required. They must also be in good health, free from all bodily or mental defects, and the adults must be in all respects be capable of labour and going out to work for wages, at the occupation specified on their Application Forms. The candidates who will receive a preference are respectable young women trained to domestic or farm service, and families in which there is a preponderance of females.

2. The separation of husbands and wives and of parents from children under 18 will in no case be allowed.

3. Single women under 18 cannot be taken without their parents, unless they go under the immediate
Care of some near relatives. Single women over 35 years of age are ineligible. Single women with
Illegitimate [sic] children can in no case be taken.

4. Single men cannot be taken unless they are sons in eligible families, containing at least a corresponding number of daughters.

5. Families in which there are more than 2 children under 7, or 3 children under l0 years of age, or in which the sons outnumber the daughters, widowers, and widows with young children, persons who intend to resort to the gold fields, to buy land, or to invest capital in trade, or who are in the habitual receipt of parish relief, or who have not been vaccinated or not had the small-pox, cannot be accepted.

Passages from Dublin and Cork to Plymouth, from Glasgow to Liverpool, and from Granton Pier (Leith) to London, are provided by the Commissioners for emigrants. All other travelling expenses must be borne by the emigrants themselves.

Assisted emigrants were expected to meet a small portion of the total cost of the voyage to Australia. The ‘Ships List’ website details the costs and conditions applicable for 1853:

Before an embarkation order is issued, the following payments will be required from all persons of 14 years and upwards: -


Classes
Scale of Payments
14 and under 40
40 and under 50
50 and under 60
60 and upwards

£
£
£
£
I. Agricultural labourers, shepherds, herdsmen, and female domestic and farm servants.

2
6
11
15
II. Country mechanics, such as blacksmiths, bricklayers, carpenters, masons, miners, wheelwrights, gardeners, and females of the working class, not being domestics or farm servants.

5
8
12
15
III. Other persons of the labouring class, if deemed by the Commissioners, desirable for the colony.

7
10
13
15
All children under 14 will pay £1 each; and if the family contains, at the time of embarkation, more than two children under 10 years of age, for each such child, £5 additional must be paid.

Out of the above payments, the bedding and mess utensils, referred to in Article 18, for the use of the emigrants during the voyage, will be provided by the Commissioners.



Based on the above figures, the Deason family were required to pay a total of £5 (two adults and one child under 14 years).

The ‘Ships List’ website also gives an insight into conditions emigrants encountered when reaching South Australia:

Emigration to Australia
In a recent letter the Bishop of Adelaide gives the following advice to emigrants to this great colony.-
I will now detail what steps are taken in the colony for the assistance of emigrants. Captain Brewer is the emigration agent, whose duty it is to board the vessels as they arrived, and, after examining the condition and discipline of the passengers, to offer such counsel as may be needed for their guidance. In the case of persons destitute of means he is empowered to pay the expense of their journey to Adelaide (eight miles) and the transport of their baggage. There is a row of cottages, built by government, at Port Adelaide, for the temporary accommodation of emigrant families, should they fail to procure situations before compelled to quit the ship. Fourteen days are generally allowed on ship board, after reaching the port, during which they are provisioned.

“The Colonial Labour Office" has been established in Adelaide, opposite the Post Office, in King
William street, for the hiring of servants and labourers. This is supported by voluntary subscriptions and has been most useful. A secretary is in constant attendance, who registers all applications, leaving the parties to make their own agreements. In case of single unprotected female servants, the protector of aborigines, Mr. Moorehouse, is directed to receive, lodge and ration such as are in want of refuge on their arrival. There is accommodation for one hundred; and at this depot, which is close to the government house and park lands, the Irish orphan girls are lodged until provided with situations.

Notwithstanding the late arrival of 450 of the latter no difficulty occurred in procuring places for all the respectable young females in the Florentia. So many marry that they are always in demand as domestic servants. There is a "Stranger Friend Society," intended to relieve distress arising from sickness among the newly arrived; and there is a fund, dispensed by a government board, for "destitute persons," - widows, orphans, & c. Provided the females and others, who are sent for the House of Charity are able, willing, and respectable, the "Colonial Labour Office" and the "Government Depot" supply all the assistance they need towards settling themselves. I may add that there is much distress and disappointment felt by a very numerous class of educated persons, who arrive without capital, and with very few pounds in their pockets. Immigration has proceeded latterly at the rate of 1000 per month and above. Unluckily, also, the ships have arrived two or three at a time, instead of at intervals. 500 persons came in last Saturday, and this on the heels of the Posthumous, Florentia, Sir E. Parry, and the Inconstant, bringing 200 Irish orphans. In fact, it is quite wonderful how they have been absorbed and where they are dispersed. Wages still are high, and there is no fear of starvation, with meat at 2½ d the pound, sugar 3 d, tea 2 s, and bread 1½ d. The natives in fact, live upon the sheep's heads & c., ox heads and tails, which are given them for any trifling service they perform. Servants of all work, plain cooks, farm servant girls, and nurse girls, are the females most wanted, but people will not engage without seeing. Wages are from £12 to £18. Respectable servant girls are sure to find employment. The government emigrant ships are more respectably conducted than passenger ships, on board the latter the sale of spirits is the ruin of numbers.-Yours faithfully,
AUG, ADELAIDE.
Adelaide, July 30, 1849

The Deason family – John, Margaret and Grace – departed Southampton, England on 29 August 1853. The ship, Epaminondas, embarked with 454 assisted immigrants bound for South Australia along with a small number of steerage passengers. Of the immigrants: 243 were English; 45 Scots; and 166 Irish; and of these; 123 were children. John was recorded as a “copper miner” from Cornwall age: 23 years and Margaret age: 23 years. There were 18 deaths and 10 births on the voyage.

The family arrived at Port Adelaide on Christmas Eve, 24 December, 1853.

The Epaminondas was fairly new sailing ship, having been built in 1850, Quebec, 1125 tons, 160.8 feet long, beam of 34 feet and holds 22 feet deep. The ship was rigged as a schooner and, although of wooden construction, included iron fasteners in its frame and marine metal sheathing on its hull.

In addition to the Deasons the Epaminondas carried nine other families from Cornwall (ages shown in brackets) :
• Richard Bryant (25), labourer, and not clear - probably wife (24);
• Samuel Daniel (34), copper miner, wife Jane (31) and their children;
• Richard Downing (41), copper miner, wife Sarah (25);
• William Hockings (26), copper miner, wife Jane (21) and their children;
• William Morley (25), miner, wife Mary (21) and their child;
• William Oates (25), copper miner, and wife Mary (24);
• William Richards (29), copper miner, and wife Catherine (24);
• Thomas Smith (21), copper miner, Mary (22), occupation not clear; and
• Matthew Tonkins (20), miner, and wife Mary (19).

The William Oates noted above could be the William Oats recorded in the 1851 Census living at Pennance, Cornwall:
• William Oats (22), miner, born Marazion, living with siblings at Pennance, Parish of Gwennap.
Or the William Oates of St Just in Penwith:
• Wm Oats (22), no occupation, born St Just, living with parents John Oats (60) and Grace (55) and siblings at Botallack”, Parish of St Just in Penwith.
However, the William Oates from St Just has been confirmed as having married Tammy Thomas in 1851 and possibly migrating to Australia at a later date.

Further research required to locate marriage of William and Mary Oats in the period 1851 – 1853 and to link to 1851 Census and link other Cornish families to Victorian goldfields.

The South Australian government formally gazetted the arrival of the Epaminondas and specified the penalties applying for early quitting the colony:
Notice to Employers of Labourers

Colonial Secretary's Office, Adelaide, January 3, 1854

The Land and Emigration Commission have forwarded to this office written engagements subscribed by the Immigrants arrived by the Epaminondas; whereby-they severally promise and undertake, that if they, or any of their families with their permission, quit or purpose to quit the Colony, within four years from the day of their landing, they will repay to the Government a proportionate part of the cost of their passage to South Australia, that is to say-at the rate of
£4 a piece for themselves and wives, and half that sum for each of their respective children, for each year or any fraction thereof which shall be wanting to complete four years' residence in the Colony.

As John Deason was recorded on immigration records as a copper miner then it is likely that the family may have intended to go the copper mines at Burra, Moonta or Kapunda. However, the copper mines at Burra and Kapunda (and possibly Moonta) had closed after news reached Burra and Kapunda on 13 June 1851 of the discovery of gold at Bathurst NSW (and later Ballarat) and the townspeople left in droves. It was not until December 1854 that the Burra mines re-opened, and not until 1856 for the Kapunda mines. With the South Australian copper mines closed, this may have been the trigger for the Deasons to set off for Bendigo. Whether they actually went to the South Australian copper mines and could not find work or whether they had already decided on arrival in Adelaide that the goldfields were a better prospect, is not known. What is known is that they headed for Bendigo.

To Victoria
Whether, John, Margaret and Grace proceeded overland from Adelaide to Bendigo, or went via ship to Melbourne and then overland to Bendigo, is not clear. Thomas (Tom) Deason (1909-2004) recollected in the late 1980’s to Winston Deason and myself (Greg Campbell) that the family tradition, handed down from his father, Alfred Deason (1868-1933), was that John Deason arrived in Melbourne on board the ship Sultana. Tom was unaware of the Adelaide connection. However, the tradition handed down from Alfred’s older brother, Thomas Deason (1859-1928), as retold to me Easter 2006, by one of his descendants, Bev Harte, was that the Deasons arrived as ‘stowaways’ to Victoria. Bev Harte had no knowledge of the name of the ship or the Victorian port of entry.

There were two ships called Sultana operating in Australian waters at that time:
♣ Sultana, arrived Melbourne – departed Sourabaya [modern day Surabaya], Java, 26 November 1853 and arrived Melbourne, 24 January 1854. The ship’s arrival/immigration records indicate that there was only one passenger: H P Tolson, a single, unmarried, Dutchman, aged 18 years; and that Tolson and the ship’s captain, A Schader, were the only two people to come ashore. There was no mention of the Deason family.

However, the Argus newspaper’s record of shipping arrivals differs from the government records as it indicates:
January 24 – Sultana, barque, 230 tons, A Schade [sic], from Sourabaya 26th November. Passengers – cabin: Mr H Peile, and two in steerage. McLoughlin, agent.

… Imports. January 24 – Sultana, from Sourabaya: 8225 bags sugar.

There is no mention of the “two in steerage” in Government records. This could indicate that they did not come ashore. However, given that the ship was intending to return to Java it would seem unusual for two passengers to have made such a round trip without coming ashore. No later records of Tolson (or Peile) have been found in Victoria.

In addition, there is no record of the Sultana having arrived in or departed from South Australia during the period 26 December to 24 January (according to the Hodge Index, compiled from local newspapers) or under Shipping Movements in the South Australian Register. The only mention of the Sultana in the South Australian Register is the ship’s “arrival in Melbourne from Sourabaya” . Also, shipping records for Melbourne, 24 January 1854 do not record the Sultana as having made a previous stop at an Australian port prior to reaching Melbourne as was the usual case. The Sultana was cleared to leave Melbourne on 13 February bound for Java.

- Sultana, arrived Adelaide - departed Plymouth, England with immigrants and arrived Port Adelaide, 3 February 1854. The Sultana left Port Adelaide, bound for Madras, India, on 3 March 1854. There is no record of this ship berthing at Melbourne or any other Australian port other than Port Adelaide.

Note: Lloyd’s Shipping Register records four ships named Sultana – three of which sailed to Australia. The Sultana from Java does not correspond to one of those listed. The Sultana from Plymouth corresponds to the listing of a barque of 588 tons built 1849, Sunderland, England.

This leaves the following possible scenarios for how the Deasons travelled to Victoria:
- They left South Australia without paying the £10 required to extinguish their government bond. This would have left them vulnerable to prosecution and, as a result, they may have partly hidden their identity from Victorian officials, for fear of being returned to South Australia;

- If they came by sea, then it is more likely that they travelled on one of the many coastal vessels that plied between Port Adelaide and Melbourne. A study of shipping movements indicated that from late December 1853 to the end of February 1854 these types of vessels left every few days, often carrying hundreds of passengers. Steerage passengers were generally not listed and there is no record of the Deasons travelling as saloon (listed) passengers. And, if the Deason’s used an assumed name, then there is little chance of finding their records.

- They chose the ship’s name Sultana possibly as a means of ‘covering their tracks’. Given the evidence at hand, it is unlikely that the Deason’s were actually on board the Sultana that arrived in Melbourne 24 January, 1854 as this would have required an oversight in shipping registers in both South Australia and Victoria. However, they may have reached Melbourne on board another ship and saw a ship named Sultana berthed at Melbourne in January/February 1854;

• They travelled by sea to Robe in South Australia or to Portland in Victoria along with other, particularly Chinese, immigrants keen on entering Victoria and avoiding detection at Melbourne; or

• They did not travel to Melbourne by sea, but instead struck out overland from Adelaide to Bendigo on their own or in the company of others in the same situation – i.e. copper miners with no work in South Australia and keen on reaching the Victorian goldfields. Given the large numbers of ‘copper miners’ arriving at Adelaide, on the Epaminondas and later vessels, there would have been large numbers of people walking their way to the goldfields.

Whether John Deason and family proceeded onto Victoria alone or in the company of others is not known. Given that nine other Cornish families were on board the Epaminondas, the majority noted as miners, it is possible that the Deasons set out for Victoria with them. Further research required.

H5– The goldfields

Gold prospecting in Bendigo
As to when John, Margaret and daughter, Grace, Deason reached Bendigo is not certain. A date of 19th February 1854 was reported at the time the Welcome Stranger was discovered in 1869. Presumably this information came from John Deason. Given the family’s arrival time in Adelaide (24 December 1853) an arrival time in Bendigo of mid-February would not seem unreasonable.

The earliest verifiable record to hand of John on the goldfields is November 1855 when his daughter, Margaret, died, aged 4 months, at Golden Gully. Note: Golden Gully was a prospecting area and intermittent stream that joined the Bendigo Creek in the area now known as Golden Square, about 3 klms south of the centre of Bendigo.

The Victorian Electoral Roll of 1856 also records John as being in the same area of Bendigo:
John Deason, miner, of Golden gulley, voting under miner’s right in the Sandhurst division.

Life on the Bendigo goldfields was difficult and soon resulted in the loss of John’s wife and four children:
• Margaret, died November 1855, aged 4 months;
• Sarah, died 1856, aged 1 day;
• Grace, died 1857, aged 6 years;
• Margaret, died of pulmonary phthisis (TB), 30 March 1858, aged 29 years; and
• John, 27 May 1858, aged 16 months.

Note: some discrepancies exist as to the age of the above children at the time of their death according to Margaret Deason’s (mother) death certificate (1858), Thomas Deason’s birth certificate (1859) and Margaret Deason’s (daughter) burial record (1855). The ages shown above are those as recorded on the most contemporaneous document.

The burial place of children, Margaret (1855), Sarah (1856) and Grace (1857) is not known. They are likely to be buried in the official cemetery closest to where the family was living at that time.

From 1853/1854 three gazetted (official) cemeteries were in place around Bendigo:
• Kangaroo Flat - commenced October 1853;
• Back Creek (Carpenter St), later known as the Bendigo General Cemetery – commenced July 1854; and
• White Hills (also known as Junction Cemetery and Lower Bendigo Cemetery) – commenced 1853.

Note: Eaglehawk Cemetery, Bendigo did not commence until July 1864.

Prior to the opening of these three cemeteries four known ‘unofficial’ burial grounds existed:
• Bridge Street, Bendigo (also known as the Old Sandhurst Burial Ground) – used between July 1853 and August 1854;
• Kangaroo Gully – used about 1853/1854;
• Golden Gully – used between September 1853 and October 1854; and
• Golden Square – used between November 1853 and April 1854.

Farming at Woodstock
Around 1857 John turned his attention to farming and purchased 175 acres of land at Woodstock, about 20 klms west of Bendigo. The land was situated on the north side of the Bendigo-Newbridge Rd, on the western edge of the village Woodstock village. This land was not in a mining area but was good farming land. The Victorian Government Gazette recorded:
Lands Purchased by Selection … during the period from the 1st to the 31st October 1857, inclusive:
Lot 28, Allotment 2, Section 3, County: Unnamed, Parish: Woodstock, Extent: 175 acres 2 roods 0 perches, price per acre: £1/0/0, When selected: 26th October, John Deason, Residence: Woodstock, deposit forfeited: no offer; amount paid: £175/10/0.

The amount paid (£175) was a considerable sum at that time and indicates that John had faired well, at least in monetary terms, on the Bendigo goldfields. The Government record also notes that he was already resident at Woodstock – an indication that he may not have stayed long on the Bendigo goldfields or was moving to and from Bendigo, alternating gold prospecting with farming.

The Title Deeds to the property were made available the following year:
Public Lands Office
Melbourne, 22 February, 1858
Title Deeds
The following Title Deeds, have since the 15th instant, been forwarded for delivery at the Receipt and Pay Offices undermentioned, on receipt of the established fees.
At the receipt and Pay Office, Bendigo [Sandhurst]
John Deason, 175a 2r, Woodstock.

End of family #1
At the time of John’s wife, Margaret’s, death in March 1858, and baby John’s death in May 1858, the family were noted as living at Long Gully, Bendigo; a prospecting area about 3 klms north of the centre of Bendigo; and still known by this name. Margaret and John were both buried at White Hills Cemetery, the nearest cemetery to Long Gully. May 1858 marked the end of John’s first family.

Start of Family #2
John moved back to Woodstock and soon remarried. His new wife was Catherine McANDREW, born 22 January 1836 in Burntisland, Fife, Scotland. At the time of their marriage at the Presbyterian Manse, Golden Square, Bendigo, on 28 October 1858, John was noted as a farmer from Woodstock and Catherine as being from Melbourne. Of note on their marriage certificate is that John gave his birthplace as Penwyth [sic] Cornwall rather than Tresco, Isles of Scilly. The term ‘Penwith’ refers to the far eastern tip of Cornwall but does not include the Isles of Scilly.
The Catherine McAndrew story, as documented by Janet & Bill Storer, tells of her voyage to Australia:
In 1858, Catherine then aged 22, arrived in Australia on board the Conway as part of a large group of young assisted migrants from England, Scotland and Ireland.

There were three other women from Fifeshire, but Catherine appears to have been on her own. On the ship there were 230 single females between the ages of 14 and 45 and 75 single males.

The Immigrants Register lists her occupation as ‘housemaid’, her religion as ‘Church of England’ and records that she could both read and write. It is also recorded that on 24 September, Catherine was engaged to work for a Mr Johnson of No 9 Spring St South Melbourne for a wage of 2 shillings for the term of 3 months.

The Conway departed from Liverpool England on 10 June 1858 and arrived at Port Phillip [Melbourne] on 15 September, the voyage taking three months.

For more information on the McANDREW family see separate Appendix (separate document).

Prospecting again
John and Catherine moved back to Bendigo from Woodstock in 1859. They were noted as living in Golden Square at the time of the birth of their first child, Thomas, 14 September 1859. John was noted as a miner at the time. However, this move may have only been temporary as there is a record of uncollected mail being held at Woodstock in January 1861. They were certainly back in Woodstock in March 1861 when their second child, Hugh McAndrew Deason, died, aged 3 months and was buried at the nearby Lockwood Cemetery on 9 March 1861.

John and Catherine’s third child, Henry was born in Bendigo in 1862.

In 1862 they moved to another mining area – Welshman’s Reef - where there is a record of uncollected mail at this time. (Welshman’s Reef is situated about 10 klms south of Maldon).

However, prospecting still continued to be supplemented with farming.

John was back at Woodstock with Richard Oates in January 1863 at the time of the death of an employee. The Bendigo Independent, 9 January 1863 recorded:
Drowned. Mr Pounds, Coroner, held an IQ [inquest] on the 7th instant, at the Junction Hotel, on the body of a man named Frederick Nolan, a native of Sydney NSW age 25 years, who was drowned in a waterhole at Woodstock, on the Loddon Plains, on the evening of the 6th instant. The deceased had worked on the farm of Mr Glover, Marong, as a labourer, from the 13th November to the 5th January, and on that day he left. Deceased was engaged on the next day by Mr Deason, and while watering the horses had been drowned. A man named Richard Oates had accompanied the deceased to the waterhole with other horses, and while engaged in watering them heard a splash, and saw deceased struggling in the water. He dismounted from his horse, and tried to save deceased by handing him the end of a stick, but deceased could not reach it properly and sank, and was not seen again alive. A VERDICT WAS RETURNED of ‘Accidentally drowned’.

Note: the above record is the earliest reference of John Deason and Richard Oates working together.

At some stage John and Catherine moved to Moliagul. Some accounts place this as early as 1862,. However, if they were at Moliagul at that time it may only have been a temporary stay as they were not noted on the Moliagul residents’ petition/census of 19 November 1863. This petition requested school aid and listed the names of Moliagul’s 36 parents and 83 children – in 1863 John and Catherine had two children. In addition, their fourth child, Hugh McAndrew, was born 27 January 1864, Sandhurst [Bendigo]. So, it is more likely that they moved to Moliagul, at least permanently, about 1864.

Moliagul was a gold mining town 45 kms west of Bendigo and 25 kms west of Woodstock. Gold was first discovered there (at Queens Gully) in January 1853 although this rush only lasted for a short time and the population dwindled. However, by 1864 further gold rushes occurred in nearby Dunolly that indicated that the area still had much gold to be found.

John and Catherine’s daughter, Elizabeth (Bess) was the first child to be born at Moliagul in 1866.

For reasons not known, John Deason was admitted to Dunolly Hospital on 17 November 1867. The hospital record noted him as:
“Married; occupation, miner; Born England”.
No residence was noted.

The next child, Alfred, was born in nearby Dunolly in 1868. Note: the nearest hospital was in Dunolly.

John and Catherine appear to have settled in one area of Moliagul – at a place known as Bulldog Gully or Black Lead about 1.5 klms south-west of Moliagul. Here they were able to work their mining claim as well as farm adjoining land. Their home was situated on the mining area and Richard Oates’s home was situated within sight on the adjoining farming land. For more information on the homesite and surrounds refer Section H10 - Appendices.

From about 1864 to 1869, at Bulldog Gully, John and Richard “stripped and washed the surface soil from several acres of land” using “an old fashioned horse puddling machine” and found two nuggets of “108 and 36 ounces” . The 36 ounce nugget was found 8 June 1866. In addition to these nuggets, fine specks of gold recovered from the puddling machine along with their crops were the mainstay of the Deason and Oates partnership.

An indication of the earlier Bulldog Gully workings has been documented by Terry Potter:
On 25 May 1857, the alluvium in the lower reaches of Bulldog Gully was proven to be gold-bearing although subsequent work showed the gold to be neither rich nor extensive. … The sinking in Black Lead was up to 3 m deep and was so named because the slugs and nuggets of gold were coated in black iron (and manganese?) oxides.

1856-57 was also the time that the 0.3-1.3 m wide quartz vein of Black Reef was mined and crushed for ‘fabulous yields’. Waymans Reef, 1 km to the north, was also returning excellent yields of 117 ozs of gold from 2 tons of quartz, 400 oz from 11 ton etc.
Terry Potter also described the arrival of Deason and Oates and their workings:
In 1862 two Cornishmen, John Deason aged 32 and Richard Oates aged 35, came to the area and selected to surface the eastern slope of Bulldog Gully as it rose towards the outcrop of Black Reef. This very gentle undulating slope was up to 200 m wide. The reasons for their choice, it is postulated, may have been the richness of Black Reef, the presence of ironstone and unworked alluvium and the results of the Bulldog Lead workings.

… At Bulldog Gully the soil is very thin but the clay is generally 0.3-0.5 m thick. Deason and Oates were hand-digging this material, loading it onto the dray (drays normally carried about 1 tonne) and transporting it to their puddler.

A puddler is a trough cut in slightly raised ground in the form of a ring and closely lined with well-fitting slabs. On a pivot in the solid centre portion works a long arm, one end of which projects far enough beyond the trough to allow a horse to be harnessed to it, while the other extends just over the trough. Two strong harrows in the trough are attached by chains to the arm, one next to the horse and the other at the far end, and as the horse walks around the outside of the trough the harrows are pulled round the trough. The stuff (a term for any gold-bearing material) is put in and water added and the action of the harrows in motion puddles the clay into sludge which is run off from time to time and fresh water added until the stuff is clean. The puddler is drained and the stones are forked out and the heavy sediment at the bottom is panned or cradled for gold. Puddlers do not recycle their water so that when their supply dam dry up, operations are curtailed until the next rains.

The remnants of Deason and Oates' puddler is still evident today …and is positioned on a slightly elevated platform on the eastern edge of Bulldog Gully. It measures 6 m in diameter with the sludge discharging not directly into the gully, but being diverted by a 20 m long by 0.5 m high rock retaining wall before being allowed to drain freely into the gully. It is conjecture that this wall may have been to keep the sludge from perhaps a horse enclosure or a building. Water for their puddler was from a 20 by 30 m shallow dam some 50 m further west in the centre of Bulldog Gully and also from other dams further up the gully.

Based on modern day experiences 2-4 cubic metres of water is required to breakdown and clean 1 cubic metre of gold-bearing clays.

It was standard to clean the puddlers only after several days work and thus, as a deterrent to overnight gold poachers, their puddler was located only 30 m from Deason's house.

Deason and Oates worked the ground under the tenure of a Puddlers Claim which was '100 feet square' per person, ie 30.5 by 30.5 m. Claims were pegged by the erection in the ground of a corner post and then registering the claim by a person with a Miners Right. There was no official survey of a claim as there was with a Mining Lease so pegs in the ground dictated the location of the claim. The Mining Warden kept a registrar of the claims but such for the Dunolly District has not survived the passage of time. It is speculation that both Deason and Oates and possibly Deason's wife would have pegged a claim each thus extending the area of common tenure. This however meant that all claims had to be worked concurrently as an idle claim was liable for forfeiture.

For several years they worked gold in the area as well as supplementing their means by farming. Another postulation is that all of their toil for gold may not have been entirely on the slope of Bulldog Gully; they may have temporarily worked neighbouring gullies as prospective ground became available, or possibly participated in the Long Gully and Surface Gully rushes 1 km north in 1863, or the Calder Gully rush 2 km south-east in June 1864, or been part of the 9000 diggers that rushed to Gypsy Flat 3 km to the south in August 1868. Or they may have gone further afield to the many rushes in the mid-late 1860s of Dunolly, 20 km south or the famous Berlin rushes, 13 km to the north.

But it is recorded that their workings at Bulldog Gully yielded sufficient gold slugs and nuggets to be payable even though at times they obtained only half an ounce of gold for a weeks work. By experience they found that the usual red clay contained a little gold yet not enough to pay but that a ‘peculiar kind of red clay similar to half burnt brick’ had been associated with their larger finds and was therefore the material that they sought to wash. They had previously unearthed an 108 oz nugget (3.36 kg) which they sold for ‘over £400' and on 8 June 1866 another of 36 oz (1.1k g). The latter, it is reported, was found as one of them threw it out when ‘stoning’ their puddler but noticing its weight as he did so promptly scurried to retrieve it. These finds, no doubt, gave them encouragement to continue with their surfacing.

Comments: as noted earlier, Deason and Oates may not have moved permanently to Moliagul until 1864.

For more information on the homesite and surrounds refer Section H10 - Appendices.

By 1869, John and Catherine owned 80 acres of land in Moliagul (under “42nd Section”) and it was reported at the time of the finding of the Welcome Stranger that they intended to later “settle on that land”. This indicates that they held land (freehold title once paid in full) outside of their current home on the mining site and for its size (80 acres) it was most likely farming land – possibly the farm known as The Springs where they settled post 1869.

Note: the term “42nd section” refers to a section of the Lands Act (rather than a map reference) and indicates that the land was leased with a right to freehold title upon payment of the balance owing (as allowed by the Act).


H6 - The Discovery of the Welcome Stranger

The discovery
On Friday, 5 February 1869, John and Catherine Deason were on their mining lease at Bulldog Gully while Richard Oates was working in the adjacent farming paddock. John, while working a surface area about 100 metres from his home uncovered, just below the surface and pinned between tree roots, the world’s largest alluvial gold nugget, containing 2316 ounces of gold (as recorded on the monument erected 1893). They named the nugget the Welcome Stranger.

John and Richard kept the find a secret until they were ready to take the nugget to the nearest bank which was in Dunolly, some 12 klms south. When it was taken to the bank on Tuesday, 9 February the word ‘got out’ and within a short time the townspeople gathered around the bank to find out more about the find. Reports were quickly compiled: by the Gold Warden on 12 February; and the local newspaper on 12 February. The news spread around the world and by 19 April the Times, London, had even reported the find.

As years passed the story of the ‘Finding of the Welcome Stranger’ became a stock standard report for any publication relating to gold prospecting and finds. Over time, the story became embellished with information that may well be accurate and missing from the earlier reports. However, some story’s facts were inaccurate and clearly aimed at providing entertainment rather than conveying the ‘real story’.

First reports
(For a full transcript of all reports refer Section H10- Appendices)

For detailed and reliable information of the events of 5 February 1869 the best (and most contemporaneous) sources are the following three reports:
- 12 February 1869, report of the Gold Warden, Francis Knox Orme, to the Mines Minister, Robert Brough Smythes. The Gold Warden was responsible for surveying mining leases and keeping records of leases and their output. It is clear from his report that he had at least been in contact with the bank and the assayer;
- 12 February 1869 – author unknown, report of the Dunolly & Betbetshire Express. This was the local newspaper based in Dunolly and its staff would have had a reasonable knowledge of the local area and its identities. In addition it is clear that they visited the discovery site and spoke with the finders; and
- 16 February 1869 – a follow-up report in the same newspaper, including corrections and additions made by John Deason.

In addition to the information detailed above (under “The discovery”) these three reports indicate:
♣ That on Friday, 5 February, John Deason found the nugget pinned under tree roots within “1 inch” (2 cms) or “2 inches” (5 cms) of the surface at Bulldog Gully,, or Blacklead Gully,. (Note: the three reports are likely to be talking about the same place – currently known as Blacklead Gully).

What John initially discovered was a large dark rock - a conglomeration of quartz and gold. Only after attempting to move the rock did he discover its true weight and that it could only be one thing – gold!

The nugget, as reported by the Gold Warden, was:
210 lb gross and 2269 oz 10 dwts 14 grs of smelted gold … irrespective of the number of pieces of gold and specimens which have been given away by the finders, and which they estimate, and I believe correctly, at one pound weight, and also irrespective of the considerable quantity of broken quartz mixed with gold which has been obtained from the nugget when breaking it into pieces for the purpose of carriage. …

The precise locality in which it was found will be seen at once from the plan attached which has been made for the information of the Hon the Minister for Mines by Mr Mining-Surveyor Couchman, and in which the position is connected with the lands held under leases No 709 and 752, with the township of Moliagul and in which both the Bulldog and Black Reefs are shown. …

♣ The weight of gold as reported 12 February by the local newspaper was:
2268 ozs, 10 dwts, 14 grs of solid gold, exclusive of at least a pound weight, which was given by the delighted finders to their numerous friends.

♣ The initial size of the nugget and overlaying quartz as found in the ground was considerably more than the 210 lbs (3360 ozs) reported by the Gold Warden. Terry Potter calculated the mass as 3523.7 ozs (109.6 kgs).

The nugget was taken to John and Catherine’s “hut” where it was placed in the fire. (Note: it was the usual practice to heat quartz containing gold to fracture the quartz and so assist in separating the quartz from the gold). The reports indicate that John sat up all night heating and reducing the mass down to its final state.

The nugget was brought by Deason and Oates to the London Chartered Bank, Dunolly on Tuesday 9 February and that soon the “bank was crowded with eager spectators”, including “a number of Chinamen” and that a “constable was sent for to guard the prize”. It took a “sledgehammer and cold chisels” to break up the nugget and after “five hours of hammering, the monster was pounded up and smelted” .

The weight of gold as reported 12 February by the local newspaper was:
2268 ozs, 10 dwts, 14 grs of solid gold, exclusive of at least a pound weight, which was given by the delighted finders to their numerous friends.

♣ The newspaper report of 16 February 1869 is interesting in that it commences with corrections made by John Deason. Firstly, the correct spelling of his name “Deason” and not “Deeson” (as earlier reported). Secondly, the name of the find’s location being “Black Reef Gully” and not “Bulldog Gully”. However, as noted earlier, these names relate to the same area. More importantly, John corrects the location’s bearings – “two miles from the Gipsy Diggings” and not “one mile” (as previously reported). Note: the Gipsy Diggings were the site of the latest gold rush in late 1868 and would have been a recognisable site to readers at that time.


♣ The newspaper report of 16 February 1869 also indicated that a nugget “of between eight and nine pounds weight, which was sold for over £100, was found about nine years ago”. However, it is not clear from the report as to whether the nugget was found at Black Reef Gully or found by Deason and/or Oates at another location. (Note: John Deason was not known to be in Moliagul in 1860). This report also stated the Welcome Stranger nugget’s yield as 2302 ozs, 18 dwts, 5 grs with “still a little to come” as well as noting “27 ozs odd sold by Mr Deason Friday”. Note: “Friday” is referring to 12 February 1869.


Later reports
As indicated earlier, some later reports may not be as reliable as the earlier (contemporaneous) reports: due to the passage of time; or the need to ‘entertain’ their readers. However, some degree of reliance can be placed on the following reports which correlate closely (or vary little) with previously published information or can be verified to other sources ((for a full transcript refer Section H9 - Appendices:):

Later in 1869 – Robert Brough Smythes (Mines Minister) in his own publication Goldfields and mineral Districts of Victoria wrote:
Mr. Birkmyre says: “the gold of this nugget, from the crucible assays, I found to be 98.66 per cent of pure gold. It thus contains only 1/75th of alloy, composed chiefly of silver and iron. The melted gold, with that given away to their friends by the fortunate finders, amounted to 2,280 ozs., or 2,248 ozs Of pure gold – its value at the Bank of England being £9,534.”

Note: Birkmyre was the assayer.

6 August 1896 – a newspaper (possibly the Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, further research required) reported:
The discoverers – John Deason and Richard Oates, had known each other from boyhood in Cornwall, and they came out to this colony within a few months of each other. After spending sometime in other places, Mr Deason came to Moliagul, where soon after, Mr Oates joined him. …

After mining together for a while, the two men selected a piece of land and cultivated it, and also took up some land in Gipsy: they did not discontinue puddling but worked their land spare time. In 1869 (the year of the Gipsy rush) they were surfacing on the slope of a small hill near their house in Little Bulldog Gully. A 91 pound nugget had previously been gotten almost on the spot where the house stood, and they themselves had found [a] 34 ounce piece close to the same place.

From the house they, for over a year, followed a continuous surface trail of payable gold up the hill, which led them eventually to the “Welcome Stranger”. On Friday, the 5th February, 1869, Mr Oates went to work in the paddock harrowing, whilst Mr Deason got the dirt for another machine. About 9 o-clock whilst surfacing a few chains from the house, the pick struck something hard. He picked in two or three different places, and each time struck a solid body, Mr Deason found to his amazement that it was a giant lump of gold. … Mr Deason, after digging around the nugget, attempted to prize it up with his pick but the handle broke and he had to go to the house for a crowbar. Whilst there he told Mrs Deason of the find, and she went to the paddock near by for Mr Oates, telling him that he was wanted. Mr Oates could hardly believe the evidence of his eyes when he found what he was wanted for. A lump of gold that measured about 21 inches x 10 inches before him. …

Though it was in the house till the following Tuesday, no-one (except Mr & Mrs Deason and their family of three and Mr Oates) knew of it till the Monday after it was found, although visitors called on Sunday.

On Monday Mr Brown and his wife came over to Deason’s and they were the first to see it. Next day (which was Tuesday following the find) Messers Oates, Deason and Brown, Eudie and McCoy took the nugget in the dray to Dunolly. It and the pieces that were broken off, were wrapped in calico bags. The main piece, which weighed 128 pounds was put in a kerosene case, but the bottom fell through. 70 pounds of quartz have been crushed from the nugget for 60 ounces gold, this also was taken in.

As the big piece was heavy for the scales, it was taken to Wall’s blacksmith shop and cut with a chisel.

Comments:
Although this report contains much new and plausible information it does have some discrepancies:
- It contradicts the 1869 reports which indicated that the nugget was broken up at the bank, i.e. it did not leave the bank. However, it is possible that the tools required to break it up were requisitioned from the blacksmith’s shop;
- it states that Richard Oates “went home to live with his family in Woodstock”. Richard was not married at this time. He actually returned to Cornwall to marry before returning to Woodstock; and
- the Gipsy rush was in late 1868 not 1869, i.e. before the Welcome Stranger discovery.

Further:
♣ the reference to the “main piece” indicates that the nugget had already be broken into pieces before leaving Bulldog Gully; and
♣ the “60 ounces of gold” from the crushed quartz may have been the gold reported to have been brought to the bank on Friday, 12 February.
23 November 1905 – a possible newspaper report (further research required – J Tully, Moliagul), John Deason’s own account, documented 23 November 1905 (at age 75 years):This report is very similar in detail to the 1896 report (above) except that it records the nuggets size as “18 wide” and about “16 deep” and that only “My mate, Mr Udey and I went with it … in Mr Udey’s spring cart”.

Comment: this report was unusual in that it was accompanied by a signed authentication from John Deason in which he ‘made his mark’ (i.e. he signed with an “X”) usually a sign of illiteracy. John’s signature is known from as early as 1851. Why an authentication was required and how it came to be signed with an “X” is not known.

1991 - Rob Smith wrote about Edward Eudey, the Quartzcrusher:
The Welcome Stranger nugget was carried in Edward Eudey’s dray to the bank in Dunolly.

Edward Eudey was a director of the Queens Reef Mine, also known as the Queen’s Birthday Mine, Goldsborough (between Moliagul and Dunolly) and a “Quartzcrusher” as recorded in Bailey’s Victorian Directories 1869, 1870, & 1871.

Edward Eudey was born 3 June 1828, Redruth, Cornwall and died 12 August 1899, Prahran, Melbourne, buried St Kilda, Melbourne. He married 25 December 1851, Tuckingmill, Cornwall, Mary Shere Le Cher (born 1 December 1830). He arrived in Victoria in 1857 on the Persia.

Comments:
- Edward Eudey was incorrectly recorded as “Eudie” and “Udey” in some published accounts of the Welcome Stranger discovery and “Endey” on shipping records and some birth records;
- Edward Eudey was the only known Quartzcrusher in the district at the time. He operated from Dunolly and probably visited surrounding ‘diggers’ to pickup their quartz for crushing and later returning their gold dust. In mining circles the Quartzcrusher was (and had to be!) a trusted person. In 1869, he was noted as a member of the Moliagul School Board of Advice.
- It is entirely probable that Edward was due to arrive at Bulldog Gully on Tuesday, 9 February 1869 as part of his ‘usual rounds’ and that John and Richard waited for that opportunity to take the Welcome Stranger nugget (then in pieces) to Dunolly along with the quartz overlay to be crushed. This action may have drawn less attention than making their own way to Dunolly and using the services of the quartzcrusher would have enhanced security as it is likely that he took precautions on his deliveries, e.g. carried a firearm. This may explain why the nugget was not taken to Dunolly on Monday, 8 February 1869.

Later reports:
There were many later reports. However, they do not appear to add any significant information as they mostly draw upon previously published information and in some cases appear to be somewhat embellished. For a selection of these refer Section H10 – Appendices.

One of these somewhat ‘embellished’ reports - Gold – Two Hundredweight of it, from Picture News, 2 March, 1940 - did contain a photograph of what purported to be a ‘receipt’ for the Welcome Stranger gold. This document gives a detailed breakdown of the nugget’s weight, including pieces given away to friends, and corresponds closely to earlier reports:

Large Nugget
called
The Welcome Stranger
Found at Black Reef Gully Moliagul on Friday the 5 day of February 1869 by –
John Deason and
Richard Oates –
Miners –

Gold contained in the nugget and sold to the London Chartered Bank at Dunolly Tuesday 9th and Friday the 12 day of February 1869 –
1st lot - 2268 10 14
2 Do 27 7 15
3 Do 6 6 15
(Given away in presents 10 15 6
In the hands of finders 2 17 12
--------------------------
(Total weight of gold nugget 2315 17 14
--------------------------

Total quartz embedded with Nugget – 72 lbs

Gold bought £4 – 1 – 6 per oz £9436 – 16 – 8

Comments:
- Although reported in 1940 as a ‘receipt’ (presumably the London Chartered Bank’s receipt) it does not appear on Bank letterhead and is not dated or signed. It also contains information about amounts given to friends and retained by Deason and Oates – not the type of information expected on the bank’s receipt;
- Terry Potter indicates that the document was dated 13 February 1869 on his transcription. However, no date appears on the version displayed in his publication or that of 1940.
- The documents’s handwriting cannot be verified to any particular person. It does not appear to be John Deason’s handwriting if compared to his signature in 1858 and 1875;
- The location of the find is recorded as ‘Black Reef Gully’ as per John Deason’s own correction to the first newspaper story of the finding reported Dunolly, 12 and 16 February 1869, . Later reports generally indicate ‘Bulldog Gully’ or ‘Little Bulldog Gully’. This may indicate that this document was written soon after the find;
- Two dates are mentioned: 8 and 12 February. As ‘Lot A’ (2268 ozs 10 dwts 14 grs) is known to have been brought to the bank on Tuesday, 8 February then the document appears to indicate that ‘Lots B & C’ were brought to the bank on Friday, 12 February. Terry Potter postulates that these later lots were the gold extracted from the quartz that Deason and Oates had freed from the nugget as result of heating and cooling the nugget – 60 ozs of gold from 72 lbs of quartz; and
- Utilising this document and other information Terry Potter calculated the original mass of the nugget and quartz mass, as uncovered by John Deason on 5 February 1869, as 3523.7 ozs (109.6 kg).


Naming the Welcome Stranger
Prior to the finding of the Welcome Stranger in February 1869, the largest gold nugget then recorded was the Welcome (2217 ozs) discovered in nearby Ballarat in June 1858. That discovery was well publicised, including a detailed article in the Ballarat Courier newspaper:
… Ballaarat [sic] has once more placed itself in its old and proud position of having produced from its auriferous treasures the largest mass of gold that has ever been discovered in its virgin state. …
… After half and hours hard work they succeeded in getting it to the surface, when the joyful intelligence was immediately communicated to all shareholders who were within reach. One of the shareholders called at our office with the news, and we proceeded to the spot for the purpose of having a personal examination of the interesting and welcome stranger. …

Certainly, John Deason and Richard Oates would have heard of this discovery and may have even read of the account in the newspaper. In naming their nugget the Welcome Stranger, some 10 years later, they may have drawn on the Ballarat nugget’s name by adding ‘Stranger’. Interestingly, the term “welcome stranger” was used by the Ballaarat Star reporter in describing that town’s nugget – maybe that same phrase was in Deason and Oates mind when they coined the name for their nugget?

Welcome Stranger sketches & photographs
Unfortunately, there was insufficient time to photograph the Welcome Stranger nugget before it was broken up. However, Dunolly jeweller, Charles Webber, did see the nugget intact at the bank and made a sketch of it. Shortly after, Francis Fearn also prepared a sketch after discussion with John Deason and Richard Oates. Details are as follows:

- Sketch and photograph by Charles Webber:
Probably the most reproduced ‘icon’ of the Welcome Stranger nugget. This sketch was made by Charles Webber, a local jeweller from Dunolly, at the time of the discovery. Charles sketched the nugget from memory within a few days of it being brought into Dunolly on Tuesday, 9th February 1869. The sketch was later photographed (probably by William Parker) and this photograph appeared in the newspapers (further research required to determine publications and dates). The whereabouts of the original sketch is not known. However, an original photograph is held by a descendant of Charles Webber.

Comments:
o it would appear that Charles Webber saw the Welcome Stranger nugget before it was broken up further at the bank. The sketch may show an amalgamation of all the pieces brought to the bank – i.e. as originally found at Bulldog Gully.

Sketch by Francis Fearn
This sketch, also made in 1869, appeared in the book Goldfields and Mineral Deposits of Victoria, by Robert Brough Smythes, published in the same year. The book included a reference to Fearn having had the sketch “certified by the discoverers as a fair representation of the nugget found by them”.

Comments:
♣ the Fearn sketch shows the Welcome Stranger nugget as a reverse image to that shown by Charles Webber. Otherwise, the drawings are similar;
♣ it is presumed that Fearn never saw the actual nugget; and
♣ it is uncertain as to why Robert Brough Smythes (Minister for Mines) commissioned the sketch to be made for his book rather than use the one produced by Charles Webber which had already been published in newspapers.

Photograph by William Parker:
Local photographer, William Parker, was quick to photograph the Charles Webber’s sketch as well as a re-enactment scene: John, Catherine and Richard in the bush with a ‘mock’ nugget and surrounded by their friends and family. Both the photograph of the Welcome Stranger nugget and the group re-enactment scene appeared in newspapers (further research required to identify timing and actual papers involved). In addition, two other photographs were taken and given to the family: one, a group photo similar to that taken for the newspapers; and the other, a close-up of only John, Catherine and Richard with the ‘mock’ Welcome Stranger.

Other than John, Richard and Catherine the names of the other people in the two group photographs are generally not known.

However, it is possible that Thomas and Ann Smith, together with their daughter Rose Ann are in both group photographs. John Morrow, great-grandson of Thomas and Ann indicated that:
• Thomas and Ann Smith were friends of the Deasons in Moliagul at the time of the finding of the Welcome Stranger nugget;
• according to their family tradition, Thomas and Ann’s daughter, Rose Ann Smith, (then aged about 6 or 7 years) is the small girl in the famous 1869 photograph showing the finding of the Welcome Stranger; and
• the children in Dunolly crowded around the anvil while the Welcome Stranger was being broken-up hoping to catch a piece of the gold.

Comments:
- the group photograph referred to above is that one published in newspapers – it shows only one small child. If the child is Rose Ann Smith then it is possible that her mother, Ann, is the woman holding her hand. It that were the case then it is also possible that Thomas Smith is the man standing behind Rose; and
- as noted earlier, it is unlikely that the Welcome Stranger was removed from the bank to the blacksmiths. However, the anvil may have been brought to the bank along with other tools noted in the earlier reports.

Welcome Stranger Monuments
There are three important monuments relating to the Welcome Stranger discovery:

Bulldog Gully, Moliagul (discovery site), 1897
The first permanent memorial, commemorating the finding of the Welcome Stranger nugget was placed at the discovery site in 1897 - unveiled 19 November 1897 by Henry Foster, Minister for Mines and D J Duggan, member of parliament (MLA) for Dunolly. Possibly this action was a result of the newspaper article of 1896 which reported: “A small stick is all that marks the exact spot of this memorable find.”

Main Street, Dunolly, 1968
In 1968, John Flett, curator of the Dunolly Museum mounted the blacksmith’s anvil, on which the Welcome Stranger was reputably broken up, onto a large pedestal outside the Museum in Dunolly’s main street.

Redruth, Cornwall (Cornish Goldsmiths), 2001
In 2001, Cornish Goldsmith (a private company) erected a large bronze monument, at Redruth, Cornwall, depicting the co-founders, John Deason and Richard Oats [sic] digging-up the Welcome Stranger nugget.

For more information about these monuments refer Section H10 – Appendices.

Welcome Stranger replicas
A number of replicas of the Welcome Stranger have been made based on the sketches made in 1869 by Charles Webber and Francis Fearn:

National Museum, Victoria
Of note is the replica in the National Museum, Melbourne, Victoria, which is attributed Augustine Heraud, husband of Grace Oates Deason, daughter of John and Catherine Deason. Augustine carved the replica from ironstone as reported in the Weekly Times, 1969:
… Mr. Heraud, jnr. says, “I think grandfather got all the gold from that spot”.

His father shaped the imitation stone now in the Melbourne Museum. It was cut from ironstone and painted. …

Comments:
- Augustine Heraud lived the later part of his life in Red Cliffs, Victoria; and
- “Mr Heraud, jnr.” is likely to be James Joseph Heraud who also lived at Red Cliffs.

Other replicas (further research required - - to be detailed later)
Insert details here:

Welcome Stranger nugget souvenirs
It is likely that John Deason and Richard Oates both souvenired pieces of the Welcome Stranger nugget to keep for themselves and to pass on to family members and friends Initial reports of 1869 indicated that:
… the number of pieces of gold and specimens which have been given away by the finders, and which they estimate, and I believe correctly, at one pound weight …

A detailed breakdown on the Welcome Stranger, possibly complied shortly after the find, indicates that “10 ozs 15 dwts 6 grns” was “given away in presents” and “2 ozs 17 grns 12 grns” was “in the hands of the finders” .

In addition, it is known from an existing ‘souvenir’ that some of the quartz, embedded with gold, which surrounded the nugget was also given away. The total of this type of souvenir is not likely to be included in the 1 lb reported by the Gold Warden.

The following is a list of known ‘souvenirs’ and their final state:

John Edward Deason (1874-1940):
John was the second youngest son of John and Catherine Deason. John possessed enough gold from the Welcome Stranger nugget to have manufactured three small motifs (approximately 15 mm in diameter) which were mounted on the handles of three silver-plated teaspoons. These motifs depicted: a gold-miner’s pan with small nuggets; a mine winch and rope; and a crossed miner’s pick and shovel. The fine work was probably undertaken by a Kalgoorlie goldsmith prior to 1920. The spoons are in the possession of a Deason descendant in Western Australia and have been used at exhibitions depicting Australian gold, including the Welcome Stranger nugget (replica), both in Australia and overseas. In March 2008, the spoons formed part of a display of memorabilia of John Edward Deason and his son, George Wilfred Deason, at the home of Deason descendant, Jill Caldwell, Bendigo. The Bendigo Weekly newspaper reported on the spoons and their history.

In addition, a small piece of the Welcome Stranger nugget was retained by John Edward’s family and this nugget “enclosed in a wooden casket” was donated by Louisa (‘Annie’) Deason (John’s widow) to the National Museum of Victoria in 1941. The Museum indicated that the nugget would be exhibited alongside its replica of the Welcome Stranger nugget. (Further research - determine size and current location of the donated piece).

Alfred Deason (1868-1933):
Alfred used gold from the Welcome Stranger nugget to manufacture a gold brooch set with an emerald. This piece was a gift for his wife Alice Scadden when they married in 1898. The brooch is oval in shape approximately 35 mm by 25 mm and depicts a grape vine overlaying an oval cylindrical band of gold. The brooch is hallmarked “AW” – a hallmark used by Alfred Walsh, a jeweller of Melbourne, who operated throughout the late 1800’s and up until 1912. The piece is now in the possession of a Deason descendant in Bendigo.

James Joseph Deason (1876-1950):
James used a piece of the Welcome Stranger as a pendant on a gold chain which was given to his wife Florence (Florrie) Thomas. It is likely that this piece was handed down to his son Ronald and, later, to James’s grand-children.

Richard Oates (c1827-1906):
Richard is known to have given at least three pieces of the Welcome Stranger to relatives in Cornwall, England. Richard did not have any surviving siblings and his father had already died prior to him returning to Pendeen about 1870. His mother died some time later.

One of these pieces was given to George Wilfred Deason (1904-1988), son of John Edward Deason (1874-1940) in 1964. George had previously visited Pendeen, Cornwall and the ancestral home of the Oats family. It was during this time (about 1950) that he made friends with James Oats. James’s grandfather was the cousin of Richard Oat(e)s of Welcome Stranger fame.

Prior to George returning to Australia permanently in 1965, James Oats wrote to him after reading in The Cornishman (magazine) of his imminent departure. In the letter James offered George a small piece of the Welcome Stranger nugget which had been in the possession of his late uncle, William Treffey Hoblyn. In addition, James indicated that he had two more pieces of the Welcome Stranger nugget. George accepted the small piece and it is still in the possession of a Deason descendant in Western Australia. This piece of quartz embedded with gold is approximately 20 cm x 8 cm x 8 cm.

Comment: this piece would have been from some of the quartz that overlayed the gold.

Welcome Stranger discovery site today
Mining long ago ceased on the Bulldog Gully/Black Lead Reef area where the Welcome Stranger was discovered in 1869. By 1875 Deason and Oates’ puddling claim had been worked out although as late as 1906 Deason and Oates were noted as promoters and shareholders in the Welcome Stranger Dredging Company which held a mining lease over the discovery site.

The surrounding area has slowly returned to its native vegetation (Ironbark eucalyptus, etc). However, the scars of the gold digging era are still clearly visible in the loss of topsoil and erosion of the site.

The monument is still there today and, in addition, there are information panels describing the discovery of the gold in 1869 and a pathway has been built through the mining area. This pathway includes marked sites for: John and Catherine’s home site, puddling machine and its associate dam, as well as Richard Oates homesite and the farming paddock.

For more information on the site today, including transcripts of the information panels refer Section H10 - Appendices.


H7 - Richard Oates

Richard Oates and John Deason worked together from as early as 1863 at Woodstock. Their working partnership probably finished when Richard returned to Cornwall in 1870 although they did maintain some joint business interests to as late as 1906.

According to some reports Richard Oates came from Tresco, Scilly Isles and came with John Deason to the Bendigo goldfields. However, this is not the case..

What is known is that Richard OATS (later OATES) was born about 1827 in Cornwall, probably in St Just in Penwith, where he was baptised on 17 April 1827. His parents were Richard OATS (c1799-1865) and Elizabeth BURNET (c1796->1871), married 15 October 1825, Madron, Cornwall. Richard OATS (senior) was born about 1799, St Just in Penwith, baptised 27 July 1799, St Just in Penwith, the son of James OATS (1752-c1809) and Jane TONKIN (c1763-1851), died about December 1865 and was buried in the churchyard of St John the Baptist, Anglican, Pendeen. Richard’s mother, Elizabeth, was born about 1796 in Gwinear, Cornwall, died sometime after 1871 and was buried alongside her husband at Pendeen. Richard placed a fine memorial on his parent’s grave,.


The 1841 census recorded:
Parish of St Just, village: Bojewyan
Richard Oates, aged 40 years, miner copper & tin, born Cornwall
Elizabeth Oates, aged 45 years
Richard Oates, aged 13 years.

Note: Bojewyan is situated approximately 1 kilometre north-west of Pendeen.
The 1851 Census recorded:
Parish of St Just, Ecclesiastical District of Pendeen, village: Bojewyan Stennack
Richard Oats, head [of household], married, age 53 years, miner, born St Just
Elizabeth Oats, wife, married, age 55 years, born Gwinear
Richard Oats, son, unmarried, age 22 years, shoemaker, born St Just.

Note: Bojewyan Stennack is situated on the main road, approximately 0.5 kilometre north-west of Pendeen and 0.5 kilometre from Bojewyan.

Richard arrived in Melbourne on 25 July 1854 on board the Norwood. He was an unassisted migrant, aged 25 years at the time of embarkation in Liverpool, 17 April 1854, and his occupation was noted as a miner.

Richard may be the Richard Oats registered on the Victorian Electoral Roll of 1856:
Richard Oats of Forest Creek, voting under ‘miner’s right’ in the Fryerstown division.

Notes:
- Forest Creek was the early term for Castlemaine (about 30 klms south of Bendigo); and
- another “Richard Oates” is registered on this Electoral Roll in the Beechworth area. However, this is a considerable distance from Woodstock (west of Bendigo) where Richard is known to be working with John Deason in January 1863..

As to when Richard met up with John Deason to form a working partnership is not known. There is no record of Richard on the Bendigo goldfields. However, there is a record of Richard and John Deason at Woodstock, January 1863 at the time of the death of an employee (for more information refer Section H6 – The goldfields).

Richard moved to Moliagul about 1864 where he continued his working partnership with John Deason. They settled on mining land at Bulldog Gully (for more information refer Section H6 – The goldfields) and in 1869 they found the Welcome Stranger nugget (for more information refer Section H7 – The Discovery of the Welcome Stranger).

After the Welcome Stranger discovery Richard continued to work the Black Reef site together with John Deason. They expanded the mining lease in 1869 to some 10 acres, (for more information refer Section H9 – John Deason – later life (post 1868, sub-heading, Mining Ventures).

Later both Richard (and John Deason) lent money to St John’s, Anglican Church, Dunolly as noted in the church minutes:
… Mr Richard Oates, who had assisted St John’s by making money available on loan to pay off the debt on the building, was to be paid at the rate of £15 per month until December 31, 1872, until the balance, with interest, amounting to £97/4/- was fully repaid.

Richard was still single, and after the discovery of the Welcome Stranger nugget with John Deason, he returned to Cornwall to marry Jane Blewett PENROSE (c1837-1921) at Pendeen, Cornwall on the 23 November 1870.

Pendeen was only a short distance from Bojewyan, where Richard was living as a boy in 1841.

Jane’s parents were James PENROSE (?-?) and Sally (Sarah) BLEWETT (?-?). Jane was born about 1837, probably in St Buryan, Cornwall where she was baptised 21 May 1837.

At the time of their marriage in 1870 Richard was noted as “born 1828, son of Richard Oates, miner and Elizabeth Burnett”, Richard was also noted as “of independent means of Bojewyan (co discoverer of the Welcome Stranger Nugget at Moliagul, Vic), bachelor 41 [years]”. Jane was noted as “baptised 21 May 1837, SB; daughter of James Penrose, farmer, and Sally Blewett”. Jane was also noted as a “spinster of Calartha 33 [years]”. Witnesses were James Penrose and William Williams.

The 1871 Census recorded:
Parish of St Just, Ecclesiastical District of Pendeen, village: Bojewyan
Richard Oates, head [of household], married, age 41 years, miner, retired born St Just
Jane Oates, wife, married, age 32 years, born St Just
Elizabeth Oates, mother-in-law, widow, age 66 years, born St Erth

Note: the above record should have read “mother” and not “mother-in-law”.

Richard and Jane returned to Australia and had four children:
• Richard Oates, born 14 March 1874, Moliagul, died Bendigo 1955
• Sarah Elizabeth Oates, born 5 November 1875, Dunolly, married James Lanyon 1896
• James Penrose Oates, born Dunolly 9 January 1879, married Kathleen Jane Miller, 1916
• Annie Jane Oates, born 29 March 1880, Dunolly, married Donald Vic Gow, 1911, died 23 October 1965, buried Marong, one child, Lorna (note: headstone shows husband as “Donald Eric Gow”).

By 1875 Deason and Oates’ puddling claim had been worked out and the Oates family moved to Dunolly. Sometime after 1880 they moved to Bealiba to farm land and in 1895 purchased 800 acres of farm land at Woodstock-on-Loddon where they remained for their later years.

Both Deason and Oates maintained some business dealings as late as 1906:
Deason and Oates’s puddling claim became worked out in 1875 after which they both went their separate ways although maintaining some dealings together as around 1906, it is recorded that Deason and Oates were promoters and shareholders in the Welcome Stranger Dredging Company which held a mining lease over the discovery site.

Richard died 29 October 1906 (and according to Max Deason’s research, at Woodstock-on-Loddon). Richard owned a farm in that area. Jane died in 1921, aged 84 years, possibly also at Woodstock-on-Loddon (death registered at Marong). Richard is buried at Marong alongside his daughter, Annie.


H8 - John Deason – later life (post 1869)
Home life
Other than John Deason’s mining and farming ventures only a few aspects are known of family life at Moliagul post 1869. (Refer also heading this section “Later Years”).

Moliagul School:
John Deason was brought the attention of school authorities in July 1880 when Moliagul State School Head Teacher, John Flynn, requested that John Deason not be fined as a result of the absence of his son, Alfred Deason on the basis that the attendance of his other four children was “generally good” .

In 1883, John Deason wrote a reference for Mary Jane Liddell who was seeking appointment as the school’s Work Mistress. Mary was unsuccessful - the incoming Head Teacher appointed his wife to the position.

In 1890 John Deason installed a cover on the school’s water tank at a cost of £3/15/0.

Religious affiliations:
No family records have been identified to date (2009) that clearly indicate any ongoing religious affiliations for John. There is a reference in 1940 to John Deason and Richard Oates being choirboys in Cornwall. However, it did not mention a specific location or church.

Certainly, during John’s time on Tresco he may have attended St Nicholas’s, Anglican Church. A school for Tresco children was run in conjunction with the Anglican Church: an Initiatory School for children up to 5 years of age and a Finishing School for older children. John’s father is known to have been one of the five who died on the pilot boat Hope in 1830; the survivors included Tresco’s resident priest and schoolmaster.

John’s mother re-married at St Just, Anglican Church in 1840. This may indicate that the family had a continuing connection with the Anglican Church. However, John and Margaret’s marriage in 1851 at the Registry Office, Penzance could indicate a departure from the church or simply reflect the norms of the time – Margaret was already pregnant. By 1852, Grace, their first child, was baptised at St John the Baptist, Anglican Church, Pendeen which indicates that still some connection.

The next record of any affiliation is John and Catherine’s marriage certificate of 1858 which noted Catherine as Presbyterian.

Following the discovery of the Welcome Stranger nugget in February 1869 there is evidence of John Deason and Richard Oates lending monies to St John’s, Anglican Church, Dunolly to finalise its construction as indicated by church minutes:
On July 4, 1870, it was agreed that Mr John Deason should be paid £100 with interest, out of a principal of £300 which he had placed on loan to St John’s Church.

… A decision was made on July 25, 1871, to pay Mr John Deason £110. This left a balance of £90 to be repaid.

… Mr Richard Oates, who had assisted St John’s by making money available on loan to pay off the debt on the building, was to be paid at the rate of £15 per month until December 31, 1872, until the balance, with interest, amounting to £97/4/- was fully repaid.

The new St John’s opened 17 December 1869 at a cost of £2,000. A further £1,000 was required to complete the church design, including its tower and spire. However, these later items were never completed.

Although John Deason and Richard Oates lent money to St John’s this may not necessarily indicate that they were parishioners, particularly as it appears the loans were short-term and repaid with interest. A later publication indicated that they were parishioners of St John’s and had lent monies to both the Anglican (St John’s) and Congregational churches in Dunolly:
The Anglicans at Dunolly were fortunate in having John Deason and Richard Oates as parishioners. … Now wealthy men, the partners in gold discovery, loaned the church 1000 pounds to complete an ambitious design which included a tower and spire. Their loan, though generous, never produced these elements of the church. John Deason also distributed some of his new wealth to the Congregational church. The church closed in 1869, the year of the Welcome Stranger find. John Deason loaned 250 pounds to the congregation so that the church could be refurbished and opened again.

However, it is clear from St John’s church minutes that John Deason’s loan amounted to £300 and Richard Oates’s loan was about £100.

Regarding the Congregational Church, it appears that this Church had been operating as normal since commencing in 1858. As late as December 1868 the Church was making additions to its building. However, by 1872 it was in terminal decline due to a lack of congregation (rather than funds) and a decision to close the church was taken in July 1884. There is no evidence from church records that the Congregational Church had closed prior to this date or that John Deason had made a substantial loan. The Salvation Army commenced using the building in September 1884.

If John Deason lent £250 to the Congregational Church then it is more likely to have been for its ongoing operation. Alternatively, the loan may have been made in 1884 in relation to the Salvation Army re-opening the church.

If John and Catherine did attend a church then it is more likely that it was in Moliagul which had Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches. The churches of Dunolly and Moliagul were:

Dunolly:
♣ Primitive Methodist Church – commenced 1856 in a small wooden chapel followed soon by a second wooden chapel. Reverted to one chapel soon afterwards. Later merged with Wesleyan Church;
♣ Wesleyan Methodist Church – commenced 1856 using Commercial Hotel. Current church building completed April 1863. Now Uniting Church and still in use;
♣ St Mary’s, Catholic Church – commenced 1856-1858 using Pick & Shovel Hotel. Chapel built 1858. Current building completed September 1871. Still in use;
♣ St John’s, Anglican Church – commenced 1857 using Woolridge’s billiard saloon. Current building completed December 1869. Still in use;
♣ Presbyterian Church – commenced 1862 using Iron Pot Store. Current church building completed October 1865. Merged with Methodists 1961;
Free Church (Independents, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists and Presbyterians) – commenced January 1858, later known as Congregational. Permanent church opened March 1860. Closed in August 1884. Re-opened in September 1884 by the Salvation Army. Disused after 1893. Building demolished 1956.

Moliagul:
- St Michael and All Angels, Anglican Church - commenced 1862 with travelling clergyman, William Hall. Current church building completed 14 March 1865. Closed about 1970. Building now private residence;
- Presbyterian Church – building completed about 1864. Church later closed. Building no longer present;
- Methodist Church – date commenced not known. However, was still operating 1935-1940. (further research required). Building no longer present.

No record to date (2011) has been located regarding any church baptisms for John and Catherine’s children and no further references have been found of the family in publications relating to the histories of St John’s, Dunolly and St Michael’s, Moliagul, Anglican Churches or the Congregational Church.

The last church reference in relation to John Deason is 1915 when the Methodist minister, Rev J T Field, conducted John Deason’s graveside funeral service at Moliagul.


Later mining ventures
John Deason was keen on continuing gold prospecting in the Moliagul district.

Details of John Deason’s mining ventures following the finding of the Welcome Stranger in February 1869 can be sourced from a number of historical records, in particular Government Gazettes. Of particular importance are three documents (for full transcripts of these reports refer Section H10 - Appendices):

- 22 February 1938, letter from of John Edward Deason to his son, George. This letter was written over a long period in 1937/1938 and details John and Catherine’s life post 1869 as well as John Edward’s own mining history;
- 19 May 1896 - Untitled report regarding John Deason’s new battery, Dunolly & Betbetshire Express;
- 6 August 1896 - a newspaper (possibly the Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, further research required)

Within days of the discovery of the Welcome Stranger the local newspaper had reported:
On enquiring the prospects of the Black Reef, Mr Deason informed us that the ground was full of specimens, and that the proper way would be to erect a machine, to first crush the stone that is cropping out of the surface in all directions, which he believes will yield from 3 dwts to 5 dwts to the ton. Of this he says there are thousands, if not millions, of tons ready to be put through the mill.

And soon John Deason and others (see below) made application for a mining lease over 10 acres of land covering the Black Reef area where the nugget was found. The application was approved 25 June 1869 and appeared in the Government Gazette:
Office of Mines, 25 June 1869
Applications for Mining Leases Approved (after the expiration of one month)
Maryborough Mining District, application no. 19/69, J Deason & others,
Lease no. 943: approx. area: 10 acres 0 roods 12 perches; investment amount & manner: £1500/steam machinery, minimum workforce: first three months, four men, subsequently eight men; locality and timing: Black Reef, Moliagul/as soon as lease is granted; term and remarks: 15 years/exercising the overlap on lease block No 709, Maryborough, and on application for lease No. 917, Maryborough.

The Government Gazette later named the ‘others’ as: “R Oats [sic]; M McCoy; E Eudey; and G Richardson for “Lease no. 943, dated 2 September 1869, annual rental: £10/1/6” . The Govenment Gazette also recorded that the lessee of Lease no. 917 was the Ballarat and Moliagul Quartz Mining Co whose lease covered some 25 acres over Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul, and the lessee of Lease no. 709 was “M McCoy and others”, whose lease covered some 3 acres over Stewart’s Hill, Moliagul

As detailed by John’s son, John Edward Deason, in 1938, John snr later (probably late 1869) purchased his own battery to process gold-bearing rock:
[John Deason] shortly after finding the Welcome Stranger Nuggett [sic] purchased a ten head Battery & was crushing for the public & at the same time was interested in a mine close to where he found the nuggett [sic] which had the largest winding engine in the district & four out of your five uncles got experience in running & minor repairs of same …

It is likely that this battery was located on the existing mining lease at Bulldog Gully.

By 1872 John may have found himself in financial difficulties as he is recorded as owing money:
Outstanding Accounts as at 22 January 1872
Payable: at the Receipt and payment Office, Dunolly, John Deason.

However, in 1872 John was successful with another mining lease application:
Office of Mines, 12 April 1872
Applications for Mining Leases Approved (after the expiration of one month)
Maryborough Mining District – Dunolly Division
Lease no. 1440: dated: 20 March 1872; term: 15 years; J Deason; extent: 16 acres 1 rood 23 perches; payable: £16/8/0.

Note: unfortunately the notice gave no indication of the location of the land involved.

But in the same year he was unsuccessful with another, much smaller, mining lease application:
Office of Mines, 3 May 1872
Application for Mining Leases Refused
Maryborough Mining District – Dunolly Division
Application No 6/72 for lease No 1585: J Deason; extent: 2 roods 15 perches; locality: Moliagul.

And later in 1872 John lost a small holding:
Licences Revoked
Inglewood Mining District; John Deason; Parish: Moliagul; extent: 3 roods 1 perch (72 15531/19 sec) – Melbourne, 18 November 1872.

And, in 1873 lost his lease of April 1872:
Office of Mines, 20 June 1873
Application for Mining Leases Abandoned
Maryborough Mining District – Dunolly Division
Lease no. 1440: dated 20 March 1872; J Deason; extent: 16 acres 1 rood 23 perches; locality: Moliagul.

In 1873, John may have again found himself in financial difficulties:
Outstanding Accounts as at 22 August 1873
Payable: at the Receipt and Payment Office, Dunolly, John Deason.

And a month later nothing had changed:
Outstanding Accounts as at 15 September 1873
Payable: at the Receipt and Payment Office, Dunolly, John Deason.

By 1875 Deason and Oates’ puddling claim had been worked out.

In 1875 John Deason commenced a new gold mining venture at Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul and in September 1875 he applied for the mining lease. (Copy held by the Moliagul Museum). It records:
Notice of Application for Gold Mining Lease
… Dunolly …
Name … and style under which it is intended that the business shall be carried on: John Deason / Style not determined
Extent of ground applied for, and whether on or below the surface, or both, or a lode: About 8 acres. On and below. A lode.
Name of each person (if any) who ???? [unclear] occupation of the land: None
Minimum number of men to be employed: For the first three months, two men. Subsequently, when in full work, as many men, as can be profitably employed
Precise locality of the ground: Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul
Term required: Fifteen years
Time of commencing operations: A month after granting lease
Amount of money proposed to be invested, and in what manner the land is to be worked: £1000. By horse power and manual labour.
Whether the boundaries of land applied for will include any river, creek, deposit of permanent water, spring, artificial reservoir, public roads, or subject to any public rights: None.
General remarks: None.

Date and place: Moliagul Sept, 1985 John Deason [signed]

The lease was approved in October 1875 with a slightly reduced land area:
Office of Mines, October 1875
Applications for Mining Leases Approved (after the expiration of one month)
Maryborough Mining District
Application no 8/75: J Deason; lease no. 1935; approx. area: 5 acres 3 roods 38 perches; investment amount & manner: £1000 / workforce: first six months, two men, subsequently three men; locality and timing: Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul / on grant of lease; term: 15 years.

However, for whatever reason John lost the lease over Wayman’s Reef:
Office of Mines, January 1876
Mining Leases – failure to execute leases
Lease no. 1935: dated 2 December 1875; term: 15 years; J Deason; extent: 5 acres 3 roods 38 perches; Fine: £3.

John did not give up on Wayman’s Reef and formed a company – the Aurora Quartz Mining Company Limited – of which he owned 50% of the shares:
Aurora Quartz Mining Company Limited: formed 10 September 1878; mining at Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul; 7 shareholders holding a total of 15,000 shares at 10/- per share; total paid up capital £7,500.

Shareholders included: John Deason, Quartz Crusher of Moliagul; 7,500 shares (£3,250); John Pollard, miner of Moliagul, (long-time friend of John Deason from Carrarack, Cornwall); 1,500 shares (£750) and his brother, Richard Pollard, miner of Moliagul; 1,500 shares (£750).

This mining venture was officially gazetted and a mine manager appointed (not John Deason) in September 1878:
Mining Notices
Aurora Quartz Mining Company Limited
Place of Operations: Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul
Registered Office: Broadway, Dunolly
Nominal capital: £7,000
Manager: John Henry Yates
Dated: 25 June 1879
Note: the Government Gazette also included a list of shareholders – same as listed above.

And John renewed his lease on Wayman’s Reef for an even larger area than before:
Office of Mines, 1st November 1878
Applications for Mining Leases Approved (after the expiration of one month)
Maryborough Mining District,
Application no: 7/78; J Deason; no of lease: 2068; approximate area: 22 acres 1 rood 6 perches; investment amount & manner: £6000/workforce: first six months two men, subsequently ten men; locality and timing: Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul/on grant of lease; term 15 years.

In 1879 John Deason again renewed his lease over Wayman’s Reef:
Office of Mines, January 1879
Mining Leases Approved (certificates issued)
Maryborough Mining District – Dunolly Division,
Lease no. 2068; dated 9 December 1878, term: 15 years; J Deason; approx. area: 22 acres 1 rood 6 perches, amount payable: £11/3/0.

Note: location not noted.

However, as recalled by John Edward Deason, in 1937/1938, the Wayman’s Reef venture was not financially successful and it would appear that to raise the £3,250 in capital for his 50% share of the Aurora Quartz Mining Company Limited John had mortgaged his property, The Springs.:
Thro the value of this property, G. Dad was able to raise a lot of money to go further into mining & that move plunged us all into a heavy mortgage, which hung till a year or two before G.D. died which occurred in 1915. This liability Co he was mixed up with was formed in Ballarat, shareholders gradually slipped out & left John Deason Senr to foot the Bills, he had no education but his money was sought after by these mining sharks. The family struggled for years to pay the heavy interest 8% …

Another source also indicated that John had little success Wayman’s Reef.
In 1878 [John] Deason and Pollard worked Wayman Reef, (discovered and worked by the Wayman Brothers in 1857). Deason had little success.

During the 1880’s and 1890’s John was involved in a partnership with Eli Brooker.
During the 1880’s and 1890’s John Deason and Eli Brooker set up a battery and worked the southern end of Jones reef and retrieved 2 to 3 ounces of gold to the ton. They also crushed stone for other miners, this led to an increase in reef mining around Moliagul in the late 1890’s.

John started another battery in May 1896:
A Moliagul correspondent reports a great revival in quartz mining there. Mr Deason's new battery was started last Thursday, on stone from Mr. Liddell's claim on Waymans Hill. Mr Deason gets credit for his unaided enterprise in affording facilities for the development of the mining resources of the place.

This appeared to be an addition to an existing steam powered puddling machine:
Mr J Deason has recently added a crushing plant to his ingeniously arranged steam puddler, and is known and widely respected as one of the best prospectors in the district. Were there more like him we would soon have an unmistakable and permanent mining revival.

However, it is uncertain from the details given as to where this battery was located.

Both Deason and Oates maintained some business dealings as late as 1906:
Deason and Oates’s puddling claim became worked out in 1875 after which they both went their separate ways although maintaining some dealings together as around 1906, it is recorded that Deason and Oates were promoters and shareholders in the Welcome Stranger Dredging Company which held a mining lease over the discovery site.


Farming
At the time of the Welcome Stranger discovery John Deason was noted as already holding some 80 acres:
Deeson [sic] has a wife and family at Moliagul, where he holds 80 acres of land under the 42nd section, which we believe he intends still to settle down upon and cultivate.

Note: the term “42nd section” refers to a section of the Lands Act (rather than a map reference) and indicates that the land was leased with a right to freehold title upon payment of the balance owing (as allowed by the Act).

Land Title maps do not indicate any freehold title available at Little Bulldog Gully; so the 80 acres must have been somewhere else in Moliagul. It is possible that this land was Allotment 11, Section 1 situated on the northern side of the Bendigo road a short distance west of The Springs. Allotment 11 was sub-divided, prior to its title being issued, into four allotments (11, 11a, 11b and 11c) with Allotments 11b and 11c, totalling approximately 40 acres, being purchased by John Deason.

No record of the land at Woodstock (175 acres), which John purchased in 1858, is later mentioned. It is possible that this land was sold to Richard Oates as he is known to have settled in Woodstock in later years.

The Springs
Soon after the 1869 discovery John and Catherine, using money gained from the Welcome Stranger, purchased an existing farming property in Moliagul called The Springs:
G. Dad thro the persuasion of G. Ma bought the Homestead & farm & orchard known as the springs …

A history of the The Springs property was prepared in 1969 for the discovery centenary by local historian, Ron Carless (for a full transcript of this report refer Section H10 - Appendices):
… "The Springs", 1¼ miles east of Moliagul township, was referred to in writings as early as 1853.
Hugh Fraser was one of the early settlers there. In 1859, his wife established a boarding school for young ladies in her home at "The Springs". In 1861, the area was described as a beautiful and healthy position”. Henry Niothec had a vineyard at “The Springs" in 1865.

Other early settlers who selected land in the vicinity of "The Springs" were W. Vezey, J. W. Fawcett, E. and S. Morris, Charles Kemp and Edward Caldwell.

After the discovery of the "Welcome Stranger" nugget in 1869, John Deason and his family went to live at “The Springs”. Mr. Deason remained at "The Springs" until the property was purchased by Frederick and George Carless. Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Carless, their daughter Florence, and son Pearcey, made "The Springs" their home until 1929 when they moved to Western Australia.

Some of the property was sold to the Shay family and the remainder retained by Mr. George Carless. …
The old stone kitchen, believed to have been built by local stone-mason named “Cumberland Jimmy" …The kitchen with its flag-stone floor, wide chimney said bread oven, has a cellar on the east side. Stoned up wells may be seen just north of the house. These are supplied by springs which have their source at the foot of a hill covered with huge granite boulders. These springs, after which the area has been named, were a very important source of fresh-water for early district settlers.

A reserve, east of "The Springs”, was once a popular picnic site, and picnics were being held there in 1871 …

Hugh Fraser’s property, The Springs, was 11 acres, 3 roods, 32 perches (Allotment 2, Section 1) and situated on the north side of the Bendigo road. Hugh Fraser also owned 14 acres, 3 roods, 37 perches, immediately opposite, on the south side of the Bendigo road, and John Deason may have also purchased this land as part of The Springs property. In addition, it is likely that John purchased the 10 acres adjoining The Springs on the western side (Allotment 1, Section 1) originally owned by W Vezey. Later, John and Catherine expanded The Springs to include additional adjoining land on both sides of the Bendigo road. The Springs may have eventually totalled approximately 300 acres (121 hectares) consisting of:
- On the north side of the Bendigo road:
♣ Allotment 2, Section 1 - 11 acres, 3 roods, 32 perches (originally owned by H Fraser);
♣ Allotment 1, Section 1 - 10 acres – (originally owned by W Vezey);
♣ Allotment 1, Section M - 24 acres, 3 roods, 39 perches, title issued 16 November 1875;
♣ Allotment 2, Section M - 8 acres, 3 roods, 27 perches, title issued 26 October 1876;
♣ Allotment 11c, Section 1 - 30 acres, 1 rood, 29 perches (possibly part of the original 80 acres held in 1869 – refer above), title issued 26 May 1879;
♣ Allotment 11b, Section 1 - approximately 10 acres, incorporated into Allotment 10d (see below), title issued 23 May 1879;
♣ Allotment 10d, Section 1 - 109 acres, 2 roods, 0 perches, title issued 23 May 1879;
- On the south side of the Bendigo road:
♣ Allotment, Section 8 – 14 acres, 3 roods, 37 perches (originally owned by H Fraser);
♣ Allotment 13, Section 8 – 54 acres, 0 roods, 13 perches, leased from 1876, paid in full and title issued 29 September 1882;
♣ Allotment 12, Section 8 – 19 acres, 3 roods, 38 perches, leased from 1875 (possibly 1874), paid in full and title issued 1 January 1908;
♣ Allotment 10, Section 8 – 10 acres, 0 roods, 29 perches, title issued 16 November 1876.

As indicated (above) some of John and Catherine’s property, The Springs, was expanded by means of leases with first right to purchase outright at a later date. This course of action allowed John more flexibility in pursuing his gold exploration enterprises. Detailed below is the leasing history commencing in 1874 with: Crown Grants and Leases
The following Supplementary List of Crown Grants and Leases on hand at the Receipt and Pay Offices name, on the 30th June last …
Treasury, Melbourne 5th August 1874
At the Receipt and Pay Office, Dunolly
John Deason.

Note: unfortunately the notice gave no indication of the size or location of the land involved. However, the notice was not listed under ‘mining leases’ (see entry below).

In 1875 John Deason took out a lease on land, probably with the intention of farming:
Application for Licences … Approved
Lease no. 11576 D: John Deason; area: 19 acres 3 roods 38 perches; Parish: Moliagul; dated 1 April 1875, yearly payment: £2/0/0; licence fee: £0/2/6, payable: Dunolly.

Notes:
- it is possible that this was the same land that appeared in the 1874 notice (see entry above);
- this land (Allotment 12, Section 8) was situated directly opposite The Springs; paid in full and title issued 1 January 1908.

In 1876 John Deason renewed his lease over the farming land taken up in 1875:
Issue of New Licences … Approved
Lease no. 11576: area: 19 acres 3 roods 38 perches; dated 1 April 1876; yearly payment: £2/0/0; licence fee: £0/2/6; payable: Dunolly.

And in 1876 took out a lease on a much larger area of land, again, probably with the intention of farming:
Application for Licences … Approved
Date of lease: 27 March 1876; John Deason; Parish: Moliagul; extent: 54 acres, 0 roods 13 perches; rent payable half-yearly: £2/15/0; rent due to date: £2/15/0; licence fee: £1/0/0; certificate fee: £1, total: £4/15/0; payable: Dunolly.

Note: this land (Allotment 13, Section 8) was situated directly opposite The Springs; adjoined the allotment of 19 acres (noted above) and title issued (paid in full) 29 September 1882 .

The licence for the smaller parcel of land was subsequently issued in 1877:
Issue of New Licences … Approved
No. of licence: 11576; John Deason; area: 19 acres 3 roods 38 perches, Parish: Moliagul, date of licence: 1 April 1877, yearly payment: £2/0/0; licence fee: £0/2/6; payable: Dunolly.

In 1878 John Deason renewed his lease over farming land taken up in 1876:
Issue of New Licences … Approved
Lease no. 11576: approx. area: 19 acres 0 roods 0 perches; Parish: Moliagul; dated 1 April 1878, yearly payment: £2/0/0; licence fee: £0/2/6, payable: Dunolly.

Note: although noted as “19 acres, 0 roods, 0 perches” licence number 11576 refers to Allotment 12, Section 8 which is correctly, 19 acres, 3 roods, 28 perches.

At the time of John and Catherine’s oldest son Thomas’ marriage in 1878, John was noted as a “farmer”.

In 1879 John Deason renewed his lease over farming land taken up in 1876 at a reduced cost:
Issue of New Licences … Approved
Lease no. 11576; approx. area: 19 acres 0 roods 0 perches; dated 1 April 1879, yearly payment: £1/18/0; licence fee: £0/2/6, payable: Dunolly.

Note: although noted as “19 acres, 0 roods, 0 perches” licence number 11576 refers to Allotment 12, Section 8 which is correctly, 19 acres, 3 roods, 28 perches.

However, by November 1879 John had fallen into arrears for this lease:
Leases in Arrears
District: Dunolly
License no. 11576; dated: 1 April 1875; John Deason; Parish: Moliagul; extent: 19 acres 3 roods 38 perches; rent due: £2/2/6; due: 1 April 1879.

No further mention of leasing land for farming is made until 1887. Possibly as a result of the financial difficulties the family found themselves in after mortgaging The Springs to raise capital for John’s mining venture at Wayman’s Reef in 1878 (refer earlier entry).

By 1887 John Deason again turned his attention to leasing farming land. However, he was initially unsuccessful in obtaining a lease – being rejected on two occasions :
Licences and Leases not Granted
No.: 236: John Deason; 236 acres 0 roods 0 perches, Parish: Moliagul.

Note: the location of this land is not known.

But later in 1887 was he was successful with his application for a much smaller parcel of land:
Department of Lands and Survey
Melbourne, 6th July 1887
Applications for Licences Approved
No.: 226: John Deason; 20 acres; Parish: Moliagul; date of licence: 1 June 1887; payment: £1, licence fee: £0/2/6, total: £1/2/6; payable: Dunolly.

Note: the location of this land is not known. It is possible that payment was not finalised and title not issued.

At the time of John’s son, Hugh’s marriage in 1888, John was noted as being from “Mt Moliagul”.

Shortly after, financial difficulties forced John, Catherine and the two youngest boys to seek work in Melbourne and let out the The Springs:
Later years the farm was let for a term & Father & Mother with U. Jim & myself shifted to Melb. Footscray. …

I was there for 3 years a slackening of hands took place, it was either me or a married man had to go, so off I went to Bendigo & I may say at this stage the letting of the farm was not a success & Dad & Mother went back to Moliagul …

Comment: Son John Edward is known to have returned to Bendigo where he studied and received his engine driver’s certificate in 1892.

So it must have been about 1890/1891 that John and Catherine moved back to The Springs.

A later newspaper report noted::
Mr J Deason with his home being at Moliagul, not on the old place [Little Bulldog Gulley], but at the ‘spring’ on the other side of town one of the prettiest spots in the district. Sheltered by the rugged hills from the frosts, they have a nice orange grove that needs no artificial protection and which is now in full bearing.

In the meantime (1888) John Deason had renewed his lease over farming land taken up in 1887 at a much reduced cost:
Renewal of Licences … Approved
No. of licence: 226; John Deason; 20 acres; Parish: Moliagul; dated 1 June 1888, yearly payment: £1/0/0; licence fee: £0/2/6, payable: Dunolly.

And again in 1889 at a much reduced cost:
Renewal of Licences … Approved
No. of licence: 206 [sic]; John Deason; 20 acres; Parish: Moliagul; dated 1 June 1889, yearly payment: £1/0/0; licence fee: £0/2/6, payable: Dunolly.

And again in 1891:
Renewal of Licences … Approved
No. of licence: 226; John Deason; 20 acres; Parish: Moliagul; dated 1 June 1891, yearly payment: £1/0/0; licence fee: £0/2/6, payable: Dunolly.

At the time of John’s youngest son, James’s marriage in 1901, John was noted as being from Moliagul.

In 2006 a group of Deason descendants again visited The Springs and the following details were documented by Greg Campbell:
John and Catherine Deason purchased a small farming property, called ‘The Springs’, some 2 kilometres east of Moliagul where they lived for many years. The property was later sold to the Carless family and in the early 1930’s to Ted and Ettie Shay. The current owners are the second generation of the Shay family owners – John and Vera Shay.
From photographs taken in the early 1930’s by Ted and Ettie Shay, and from discussions with current owners, John and Vera Shay, it is possible to determine the buildings that existed in the Deason era:

• A single-storey stone building with central doors (front and rear) and two windows either side of each door, i.e. a typical Cornish miner’s style house of which many can be still seen in the Central Victorian goldfields area. Construction was of local granite which was roughly cut and cemented together.

The front door probably faced west where there was a verandah which ran the length of that side. (Note: the verandah may have been a later addition). The rear door faced east. Two timber (weatherboard) additions were later placed at either side of the rear (eastern door) – one was used as a wash-house. The stone building contained a large fire place sufficient for general cooking and baking of bread. The floor was finished with large flagstones of slate. This building, and its later weatherboard additions beside the rear door, still remain today (2006) mostly intact. However, additions by the Shay family in 1933 required removal of the verandah on the western side.

There is no evidence of whether this building was divided into rooms. However, it was certainly large enough (approximately 7 metres by 4 metres – internally) to contain sleeping areas separate to the kitchen/eating area.

• A single-storey wooden building existed to the south of the stone building. The two buildings were separate – some 10 to 15 metres apart. The layout was similar to the stone building – central doors facing east and west with small, single windows either side of the doors and at least one small window on the northern side (note: we have no photo of the southern side). The building was made of vertical boards of eucalypt which were probably fixed to eucalypt logs. Some examples of this type of early construction can still be seen around Moliagul.

The front door appears to face east. A verandah ran the full width along the eastern side. There does not appear to be a verandah on the western side.

From photographs it is possible to estimate the size of this building to be approximately 5 metres by 4 metres.

• A wooden sleep-out was located on the northern side of the stone building a short distance (about 5 metres) from the western verandah. It appears to be the top part of an old road-coach and was probably used as additional sleeping quarters for the large Deason family.

A hay shed also existed further to the north. A photograph shows it to be made of vertical eucalypt logs driven into the ground with a slab roof covered with straw. An example of this type of hay shed construction can still be seen on a farm one kilometre along the road from ‘The Springs’ towards Moliagul (see comment).

Some old fruit and nut trees still remain on the property. Some of these may have been planted by the Deasons - such as the very large almond trees and the walnut and fig trees, A local newspaper article of 1896 noted the property as having “a nice orange grove that needs no artificial protection and which is now in full bearing”.

Comment – later research has determined that this ‘other’ hayshed (“one kilometre” from the The Springs) is on land that formed part of the The Springs (see previous entries).


Later years
In 1912 John and Catherine sold The Springs to the Carless family and moved into Moliagul township where they spent their later years operating a small shop on the corner of Moliagul-Dunolly and Monuments Roads. Their home was next door.

Both the brick shop and timber home exist today (2009) - Section E, Lots 1 & 2, situated on the corner of Moliagul-Dunolly and Monuments Roads, numbered 1433 Dunolly-Moliagul Road.

They were probably joined by their daughter Elizabeth (Bess) and her three young children soon after Elizabeth’s husband, Hugh Robinson, died in 1902.

The 1903, 1909 & 1914 Commonwealth Electoral Rolls noted John’s occupation as: farmer; Catherine’s as: home duties, and their residence: Moliagul. However, Catherine did not appear on the 1919 Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

John Deason made his last Will on 30th November 1903. In it he left his entire estate to his wife Catherine.

John died on 13 September 1915 at Dunolly and was buried on 15 September at Moliagul cemetery.

Probate on John Deason’s estate was granted in 1915 to his wife Catherine. The probate document stated that John had left:
• real estate - not exceeding £50 in value – being Lots 1 & 2 of Section E in the township of Moliagul (one rood and thirty nine perches in area); and
• personal property - not exceeding £573/13/4 – being made up of: household furniture; £400 deposit in the Bank of Victoria, Dunolly and £150 in debts and interest owed to John.

Catherine continued to live at Moliagul after John’s death. However at some stage, probably before 1919 (Elizabeth was not recorded on Electoral Roll for 1919), she moved to Fryerstown to live with her son Hugh and his wife Elizabeth. In early 1921 Catherine moved back to Moliagul to live with her daughter Elizabeth (Bess) but was only there a short time before moving to Diamond Hill, Bendigo to live with her son Alfred and his wife Alice.

Catherine died 11 September 1921 in Golden Square, Bendigo and was buried 19 September 1921 at Moliagul together with her husband John.

A fine headstone had been erected after John’s death. After Catherine’s death the headstone was updated with her details and the motto “Onward and upward true to the line” was added.

There is no probate record for Catherine. This is likely to indicate that there was little left of John’s estate by the time of her death in 1921. This could indicate that the shop and adjoining home in Moliagul had been sold or possibly transferred to her daughter, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth (Bess), and her three children, probably continued to live in the old home and shop in Moliagul. The 1919 Commonwealth Electoral Roll noted “Bessie’s” occupation as: housekeeper and residence: Moliagul. The Electoral Rolls of 1924 and 1931 recorded the same details as for 1919. Elizabeth (Bess) was still there in 1928 when her daughter, Beulah died in Dunolly. However, by 1936 Bessie had moved to Avoca. The old home and shop were probably sold outside of the family. (For more information of Elizabeth (Bess) and family refer individual Family History).

H9 - Appendices:

This section contains a selection (in date order) of extracts from published accounts of the finding of the Welcome Stranger nugget and the life of John and Catherine Deason and family. Below is a listing of documents with transcripts following on later pages:

LIST OF APPENDICES

Welcome Stranger discovery:
- Report to the Mines Minister (Robert Brough Smythes) by Francis Knox Orme, Gold Warden, 12 February 1869;
- The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger”, Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 12 February 1869;
- The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger”, Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 16 February 1869;
- The Times (London) Monday, 19 April 1869;
- Goldfields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, Robert Brough Smythes, published 1869;
- The Finding of the Welcome Stranger – a Historical Nugget. Dunolly – Thursday, 6 August 1896 (probably an extract from a newspaper article of that) ;
- John Deason’s own account, documented 23 November 1905 (at age 75 years), publication unknown, about 1905;
- Old pioneer passes away, Death of Mr John Deason, Finder of the “Welcome Stranger nuggett, (incomplete – only one page of a larger document), probably written within one week of John Deason’s death, possibly by a family member for use as an eulogy at John’s funeral;
- Obituary from Dunolly and Betbetshire Express, Friday, 17th September 1915;
- Gold-seekers of the ‘Fifties’, from the Argus, Thursday, 9 September 1926;
- The Welcome Stranger from the Argus, Saturday, 23 May 1931;
- Famous Nuggets – The Wheel of Fortune from the Argus, Saturday, 19 March 1932;
- The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” from the Dunolly & Betbetshire Express and County of Gladstone Advertiser, Tuesday, 5 April 1932 , (an extract from Dunolly Express, 12 February 1869), p 1;
- The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” from Dunolly & Betbetshire Express and County of Gladstone Advertiser, Tuesday, 6 February, 1934, p 3;
- True story of the world’s largest Nugget, by C P Ward (probably published prior to 1940) ;
- Gold – Two Hundredweight of it, from Picture News, 2 March, 1940, pps 34 & 35;
- Gold – Two Hundredweight of it, from Woman, 14 October 1940, p 13;
- An account of the Discovery of the Welcome Stranger by author(s) unnamed (probably written Venus Free (nee Deason, Quambatook, grand-daughter of John Deason) and/or a local Quambatook historian) and published about 1940;
- Gold – The Romance of its Discovery in Australia, Charles Barrett, 1944;
- Welcome Stranger … an extract from a publication (not indicated on copy), date unknown;
- Welcome Stranger … an extract from a publication (not indicated on copy), date unknown;
- Welcome Stranger … an extract from a publication (publisher not indicated on my copy), date unknown;
- “Welcome Stranger” centenary at Moliagul, from Weekly Times, 26 February 1969, p 70;
- Note on the past, from Weekly Times, 26 February 1969, p71;
- Dunolly: Story of an Old Gold Diggings, The Welcome Stranger, James Flett, 1974, pps 159-163;
- The Welcome Stranger, 1999, Terry Potter, pps5-17;
- Romancing the nugget, Anthony Black, Sunday Herald Sun, 5 Mar 2000;
- Golden welcome, Kim Mawson, (unidentified newspaper), probably 2000;
- The Real Welcome Stranger Story, Katherine Knight, published in Gold Net Australia, April 2000;
- A golden moment for two Scilly lads, John Wright, published in Western Morning News (English newspaper), 1 November 2005).
Welcome Stranger memorials:
- Welcome Stranger Nugget Discovery Site Marker, Moliagul;
- Welcome Stranger Anvil Memorial, Dunolly;
- Welcome Stranger Memorial, Redruth, Cornwall;

Welcome Stranger discovery site – today:
- FairfaxDigital (website) – 5 May 2008;
- The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk, (Welcome Stranger Monument trail guide) – March 1990;
- The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk, (Welcome Stranger Monument trail guide) – as current 2006.

John & Catherine Deason’s later life (including other mining ventures and farming):
- Untitled report regarding John Deason’s new battery, Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 19 May 1896;
- The Finding of the Welcome Stranger – a Historical Nugget, Dunolly, Thursday, 6 August 1896 (probably an extract from a newspaper article of that date) publisher unknown, includes information on John Deason’s life after the finding of the Welcome Stranger;
- Correspondence from John Edward Deason to his son, George, 22 February 1938:
Note: this letter is edited to detail only information relating to John & Catherine Deason. For full transcript refer Family History entry for John Edward Deason.;
- ‘The Springs’, History – prepared by Ron Carless, 1969.
APPENDICES

Welcome Stranger discovery:

Report to the Mines Minister (Robert Brough Smythes) by Francis Knox Orme, Gold Warden, 12 February 1869:

Sir, I have the honour to report for your information that in company with the Mining Surveyor Couchman I proceeded yesterday to the ground where the large nugget was found and now named by the finders 'The Welcome Stranger'. It weighed 210 lb gross and 2269 oz 10 dwts 14 grains of smelted gold have been obtained from it irrespective of a number of pieces of gold and specimens which have been given away by the finders, and which they estimate, and I believe correctly, at one pound weight, and also irrespective of a considerable quantity of broken quartz mixed with gold which has been obtained from the nugget when breaking it into pieces for the purpose of carriage. The finders are named John Deason and Richard Oates, miners who have worked in this locality for about seven years and have a puddling machine there, and the nugget was found on Friday 5 February instant about one inch below the surface on the western side of a gully slope, going from the Black Reef down to a gully which is known as the Bulldog Gully or Black Lead. They estimate the size as about twenty-one inches in length and about ten inches in thickness but unfortunately broke the nugget in three parts before they informed anyone of it, and at their request it was for smelting purposes, at once broken into small pieces with a sledge hammer and chisels, when taken to the London Chartered Bank on the 9th instant.

The nugget was found in some surfacing (of which from ten inches to a foot is generally puddled) of loose, gravely loam resting on thick, red clay, with a bottom of sandstone about ten inches from the surface.

A nugget of nine and a half-pound was found in the gully about ten years since, and also one of thirty-six ounces was found there by Deason on 8 June 1866, about one hundred yards from where the 'Welcome Stranger' was found. This is about two and a half miles from the south of Mount Moliagul - one and a quarter miles from the township of Moliagul - about a mile from the Gipsy Diggings and eight miles from Dunolly.

The precise locality in which it was found will be seen at once from the plan attached which has been made for the information of the Hon the Minister for Mines by Mr Mining-Surveyor Couchman, and in which the position is connected with the lands held under leases No 709 and 752, with the township of Moliagul and in which both the Bulldog and Black Reefs are shown. As soon as the exact weight of the balance of the gold obtained from the nugget and not included in the 2268-10-4 already mentioned has been ascertained, you shall be informed of it, and also of the amount of gold given in presents by the finders, so that a correct return of the whole actual weight nett of the nugget may be given.

It is greatly to he regretted that such a splendid nugget should have been broken up and that no photograph or drawing of it was taken, but I am glad to say that I confidently expect that a drawing of it from memory made with all possible care and fidelity will be made without delay and forwarded to you without delay. – F. Knox Orme, Warden.

The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger”, Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 12 February 1869:

Largest Nugget in the World!

“THE WELCOME STRANGER”

The Dunolly district, after having turned out a multitude of nuggets that puts every other goldfield in the Colony in the shade, has at length, in the words of the Melbourne journals, "beat the world" in producing the largest mass of gold on record. The 'Welcome Stranger' was found by two men, named John Deeson [sic] and Richard Oates, on Friday last, February 5, 1869, near the Black Reef, Bull-dog Gully, Moliagul, a short distance from Wayman's Reef, and only about a mile from the celebrated Gypsy Diggings. Deeson [sic] and his mate have been working in the ground for several years past, and, as is well known, had got, in digging parlance, so 'hard up' as to have been refused credit for a bag of flour a week or so ago, and we believe the very day before the discovery, were reminded by a tradesman that they were indebted to him a few shillings. Still they persevered, until on the day named, Deeson [sic] in working round the roots of a tree, at about two inches below the surface, struck something hard with a pick, and exclaimed, "D–n it, I wish it was a nugget and had broken the pick.” On stooping down to examine the obstacle, he found that the object of his dearest wishes was lying at his feet, and it seemed as if the monster was so large as to be immovable. It was, however, at length released from its virgin soil, and carefully removed. The question then arose as to what was to be done with it, and the first intention was to convey it to Melbourne. When the men got to Dunolly with their prize, they were advised to take it to the bank, and forthwith carried it to the London Chartered. The news of the discovery soon spread, and the bank was crowded with eager spectators, amongst whom was a number of Chinamen; and a constable was sent for to guard the prize. The weight in the gross was then found to be two hundred and ten pounds troy, and preparations were at once made to break the mass to pieces and smelt it. The appearance of the 'Welcome Stranger' in its pristine state was something wonderful, and it seemed impossible to realise the fact so great a mass of gold could be collected in one lump. But so it was. Many efforts were made to lift it, and many exclamations of surprise expressed at its immense weight and compactness. A sledgehammer and cold chisels were brought into requisition, and several of the latter broken in the attempt to reduce into fragments the 'Welcome Stranger'. It was found to be as solid as it looked, and as chip after chip and piece after piece was dissevered from it, its appearance was as clean as a well-cut Cheshire cheese. At length, after no less than five hours hammering, the monster was pounded up and smelted, the result being 2268 oz 10 dwts 14 grs of solid gold, exclusive of at least a pound weight, which was given by the delighted finders to their numerous friends, who were each anxious to retain a piece of the largest mass of gold the world has yet seen. Over nine thousand pounds were advanced on the nugget by the bank, the final value awaiting the result of assay. Some interest has been manifested as to the comparative size and value of the 'Welcome Stranger' and the 'Welcome' nugget found at Ballarat, to set which at rest we give the following particulars:- 'Welcome Nugget, found in the claim of the Red Hill Company, Bakery Hill, Ballarat: on the evening of the 9th June, 1858. Weight, 2,217 oz, 16 dwts'. It will thus be seen that the 'Welcome Stranger' whose total weight (inclusive of the pieces distributed, and retained as referred to below, before being smelted) was in round numbers 2,300 ounces, being over 80 ounces heavier than the 'Welcome'. Henceforth the almanacs, which have hitherto chronicled the Ballarat monster nugget, as the largest piece of gold on record will have to change the name to the ‘Welcome Stranger’, found in the Dunolly district, near Moliagul. Several interesting incidents might be published in connection with the finding and finders of the nugget. Oates has, we believe, neither kith nor kin with whom to share his prize, but probably soon will have. Deeson [sic] has a wife and family at Moliagul, where he holds 80 acres of land under the 42nd section, which we believe he intends still to settle down upon and cultivate. Oates, we understand, intends shortly to visit his home at the Lands End.

Since writing the above we have visited the locality to be henceforth rendered world wide in its fame. The spot where the nugget was found is marked by a post, and was pointed out to us by the two fortunate finders of this truly 'Welcome Stranger'. Messrs. Deeson [sic] and Oates inform us that they came to the colony in the year 1854. On the 19th February in that year they reached Bendigo, and from that time have been engaged as working miners, with the varied successes and difficulties appertaining to digger life. On the whole they have just managed to make a living by dint of hard work and thrift. About seven years ago they settled down at Moliagul, and have been steadily working there ever since chiefly, washing about nine inches to a foot of the surface soil in an old fashioned horse puddling machine. Mr Deeson [sic] informed us that they had many times washed a whole week for half an ounce of gold, while at other times they were very fortunate. Within about a hundred yards from the spot where the 'Welcome Stranger' was unearthed they, some time ago, found two other nuggets, one weighing 108 ounces, and the other 36 ounces. They have stripped and washed the surface soil from several acres of land, and their workings are easily traced by the red clay they have bared. They informed us that this red clay contained a little gold, but not enough to pay, consequently they do not wash it. They pointed out to us a peculiar kind of red clay similar to half burnt brick, which they regard as indicative of gold, and which has always been found associated with their larger finds, and particularly so with the immense mass of gold found by them on Friday last. It is much to be regretted that this, the largest mass of gold ever found, at any rate of which there is any record, should have been melted before any model of it was made, and the fortunate owners expressed to us their regret that such had been the case. But when they discovered it, the mass, as may be supposed, was unwieldy, so much so that it had to be forced from its bed by a large lever, and the place is a very solitary one, anything indeed but such a place as one would care to keep £10,000 worth of gold, or to risk making its discovery known until it could by surrounded by the necessary protection. The mass when found was taken to Mr Deeson’s [sic] hut and placed in the fire for the purpose of rendering the quartz friable, and Deason sat up the whole of Friday night burning and reducing the mass into a somewhat manageable shape, the debris containing it is estimated about a pound and a half weight of gold. This done, they took it to Dunolly, as previously stated, and it was at their request that the nugget was at once broken up and smelted. Some golden stone was also broken out of the Black Reef itself, specimens of which are preserved. It is worthy of remark that at the time of our visit, Deason and his mate were working away in their shirtsleeves at the claim as if nothing had happened out of the ordinary. We are glad that the monster has fallen to the lot of such steady and industrious men.

The same edition also included initial reaction from outside the district:
The Ballarat correspondent of the Argus says: - Some considerable excitement was caused at the Corner on the receipt of the telegram from Moliagul announcing the extraordinary find of about two hundredweight of gold near Wayman’s Reef, and within twenty minutes of the news being known three buggies had left Ballarat for the scene of the discovery with speculators going to judge for themselves, and perhaps for others! We understand that the utmost anxiety was felt in securing all the available fleet horses at Dunolly, and that the excitement occasioned was really intense. Mr Yates, the mining agent, however was before them all and secured an additional acre of ground for the Ballarat and Moliagul Quartz Mining Company.
The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger”, Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 16 February 1869:

The following edition of this newspaper contained corrections and additions made by John Deason (to report of 12 February 1869) as well as further information.

THE LATE DISCOVERY

Mr Deason informs us that there are some slight inaccuracies in our description, and these we now correct. In the first place his name his name [sic] is spelled as above, and not “Deeson”. The gully where the nugget was found is called Black Reef Gully, and is about two miles – instead of one mile – from the Gipsy Diggings. Messrs Deason and Co. found nugget 36 ounces in the ground on the 8th June, 1866, but one of between eight and nine pounds weight, which was sold for over £100, was found about nine years ago. The [Welcome Stranger] nugget has so far yielded, as near as possible, 2302 ozs 18 dwts 5 grs, there still being a little to come. 27 ozs odd were sold by Mr Deason on Friday: On enquiring the prospects of the Black Reef, Mr Deason informed us that the ground was full of specimens, and that the proper way would be to erect a machine, to first crush the stone that is cropping out of the surface in all directions, which he believes will yield from 3 dwts to 5 dwts to the ton. Of this he says there are thousands, if not millions, of tons ready to be put through the mill. The gold from the nugget has since been assayed, and found to be 23 carats 2⅝ grs, and 23 carats 2¾ grs fine. The loss in re-melting was only 7⅛ dwts.

Nearly all the journals with the exception of the Maryborough and Dunolly (?) Advertiser (which has contented itself with fishing up a vague rumour, calculated to rob this district of its honor), have contained observations upon the finding of the monster. Some of these are highly amusing, and others ridiculously incorrect. The Herald has no doubt that all the ground for miles would be instantly torn up in search of another nugget. But such is not the fact, it having been marked out in leases for companies to mine, in both alluvial and quartz. The “Peripatetic Philosopher”, in the Australasian, regrets that, although he has been a “hatter”, he has never turned up a nugget worth £9,600, weighing 200 lbs. He then proceeds to picture, in a most fanciful and exaggerated style, the scene of the discovery, and the tout en semble of the discoverers. The latter he imagines to have worked all day, and got ‘religiously drunk’ at night, and on finding the nugget to have dressed themselves in “new clothes, radiant with watches, and gleaming with barbaric gold,” and proceeding to further extremes of dissipation until “the weight of their 200 lb speedily drags them into the depths.” The writer is nearer the mark when he admits that the nugget finders may be hard-working, sensible fellows, who have determined to husband their resources, and are still following their ordinary occupations. The Daily Telegraph thinks that the nugget ought to have never been consigned to the melting pot, but although this is matter for sincere regret, the reasons have been already explained, and the finders had an undoubted right to do what they liked with their property without being dictated to by anybody. Had the nugget been preserved, the good that might have accrued from its being exhibited here, in Melbourne, in England, and in fact every civilised country in the world, is incalculable. The same journal says: - “Had tidings of such a lump of gold being found two inches from the surface arrived from New Zealand, or the Cape of Good Hope, what an exodus would have taken place from all the Victorian goldfields, but being found at our own doors, in poor old used up Victoria, it isn’t much, after all.” It thinks seriously that the “find” coming in the heart of the Spring Creek “rush” will make some begin to look forward to a new golden era for Victoria. “It is a wonderful line of country all around that north-western region as it sinks gradually from Korong [sic] south by the Pyreness [sic] into the wide wastes of the Wimmera. We have often thought its treasures were not half known. Work away, ye tough-sinewed miners, and maintain Victoria still in her proud eminence! Delve on, and may you be prosperous; for what does good to you does good to all.” The Ballarat Courier after lamenting that the monster has been consigned to the melting pot, says, speaking generally of course, and not particularly referring to the two finders: - “Had a couple of Ballarat miners found the monster, we warrant they would have marked off a few acres of ground surrounding the late resting place of the dear departed, before consigning it to its final tomb, or acquainting their friends with its exhumation. But what can be expected from the genus digger which goes about with a hoe and a three-legged stool, and thinks a good day’s work has been done in the turning over of a few square yards of surface?” Another contemporary says that the discovery of the nugget, coupled with the fact that the new and extensive goldfield at Spring Creek, indicates that it will be long before this colony need yield to any part of the world as a gold producing country, and hints that the monster may be immeasurably surpassed by subsequent discoveries. Look out, and look up Moliagul! The announcement of the unearthing of this golden Mammoth had a noticeable effect on the Melbourne Rialto. One ingenious speculator proposed at once to start a company to puddle the whole of Victoria, commencing at the seaboard and working inland. The Ballarat Star, a gentleman connected with which, has, we believe, some personal knowledge of the locality, says: - “there is a great deal of what is called ‘reef gold’ round about, and it is expected that very rich quartz has been found by other parties working in the locality. The discovery of this nugget, will beyond a doubt, cause great attention to be given to the district, and the quartz lodes are likely to be prospected more effectually in a few weeks now, than they would have been in years, had not this discovery been made.”

A correspondent of the Ballarat Post says he finds “on consulting a work in his possession, that in the year 1785, a mass of gold was found at Bahia in the Brazils which weighed 2,560 lbs. At £1 an ounce, this would, of course, be worth £122,880.” Why not have specified the work? It is not a mere rumour that is therein referred to, or how is it that the fact should have passed out of public remembrance, and only adorn the records of an obscure book?
The Times (London) Monday, 19 April 1869:

Had we not become long ago dulled to anything in the nature of a surprise coming to us from the gold fields, we should have extracted a little more discussion about our last wonder in gold. Until recently Ballarat could boast of having produced the largest lump of gold (some 137 lb. weight) on record, but now that is thrown quite into the shade by a mass of 210 lb. weight, troy, unearthed by two miners, named John Deason and Richard Oates (poor Cornish men), about three weeks back. It was found only about two inches beneath the surface, and at one of our earlier goldfields in the Dunolly district, which has been well dug over for many years past. The lucky finders of the prize at once transferred it from its native bed to a dray – it was described as a tolerably heavy lift for two men – and took it off to the local branch of the London Chartered Bank, by whose manager it was bought for the sum of 9,600l. The men were offered 9,000l for it at a venture before weighing, but the result proved their sagacity in declining even that apparently handsome sum. It has been melted down (losing only 7½ dwts. in the process) and probably it goes to England in the mail steamer which carries this letter. Some natural regret has been expressed that only a rough drawing (but no model) has been taken of this, the greatest curiosity which our goldfields have ever yet yielded. At the same time it is very curious to observe how very little surprise has been expressed at the discovery itself. Apparently we have been talking about tons of gold until we have become comparatively insensible to mere hundred-weights.

Goldfields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, Robert Brough Smythes, published 1869
:

Attention has already been directed to the many large pieces of gold which have been found in the neighbourhood of Dunolly; and when printing of this work was nearly completed, on the 5th February, 1869, there was unearthed by John Deason and Richard Oates a nugget weighing more than 2,280 ozs 10 dwts 14 grs. It was found on the extreme margin of a patch of auriferous alluvium trending from Bull-dog Reef. According to information furnished by Knox Orme, it appears that this mass of gold was lying within two feet of the bed-rock (sandstone), in a loose, gravely loam, resting on stiff, red clay. It was barely covered with earth. It was about twenty-one inches in length and about ten inches in thickness; and, though mixed with quartz, the great body of it was solid gold.

The accompanying drawing (Fig, 83) (not shown here) has been reduced from a large sketch made by Mr. Francis Fearn, which was certified by the discoverers as a fair representation of the nugget found by them.

Comparing it with a photograph of a sketch made from memory by Mr. Charles Webber, it would appear to represent not incorrectly the outward appearance of the “Welcome Stranger.”

It is to be regretted that a cast or a photograph was not made, and the weight and specific gravity of it ascertained when it was first dug out of the ground. The discoverers appear to have heated it in the fire in their hut, in order to get rid of the quartz, and thus reduce its weight before conveying it to the bank at Dunolly.

The melted gold obtained from it was 2,268 ozs 10 dwts 14 grs; but a number of specimens and pieces of gold (weighing more than 1 lb.) were detached from it before it got into the hands of the bank manager; and what was broken off in the hut whilst it was on the fire, it is useless to guess.

Mr. Birkmyre says: “the gold of this nugget, from the crucible assays, I found to be 98.66 per cent of pure gold. It thus contains only 1/75th of alloy, composed chiefly of silver and iron. The melted gold, with that given away to their friends by the fortunate finders, amounted to 2,280 ozs., or 2,248 ozs of pure gold – its value at the Bank of England being £9,534.”

The neighbourhood of Dunolly is almost unprospected country. For many miles there are out-cropping reefs which have yielded very large pieces of gold; and it is not at all improbable that other pieces of gold will be found as far as exceeding the “welcome Stranger” in weight and value as that nugget exceeds any yet recorded.

Near the spot where the mass was found there were unearthed two nuggets weighing respectively 11 ozs and 36 ozs.

Very heavy gold is characteristic of this district; and large nuggets are found nearly every day.

The Finding of the Welcome Stranger – a Historical Nugget. Dunolly – Thursday, 6 August 1896 (probably an extract from a newspaper article of that) :

From time to time different accounts of the finding of the “Welcome Stranger”, the largest gold nugget ever authentically discovered and published. Most of them are erroneous, and many almost wholly wrong. It may therefore not be out of place to give a correct account of the finding of this golden monster. Had it been in some other country, the Government of municipality would have erected a tablet to mark the spot of this historical discovery. The discoverers – John Deason and Richard Oates, had known each other from boyhood in Cornwall, and they came out to this colony within a few months of each other. After spending sometime in other places, Mr Deason came to Moliagul, where soon after, Mr Oates joined him. They became mates and Mr Oates, then being single, lived with the Deasons in Little Bulldog – miles south of Mt Moliagul and eight miles north of Dunolly.

After mining together for a while, the two men selected a piece of land and cultivated it, and also took up some land in Gipsy: they did not discontinue puddling but worked their land spare time. In 1869 (the year of the Gipsy rush) they were surfacing on the slope of a small hill near their house in Little Bulldog Gully. A 91 pound nugget had previously been gotten almost on the spot where the house stood, and they themselves had found [a] 34 ounce piece close to the same place.

From the house they, for over a year, followed a continuous surface trail of payable gold up the hill, which led them eventually to the “welcome Stranger”. On Friday, the 5th February, 1869, Mr Oates went to work in the paddock harrowing, whilst Mr Deason got the dirt for another machine. About 9 o-clock whilst surfacing a few chains from the house, the pick struck something hard. He picked in two or three different places, and each time struck a solid body, Mr Deason found to his amazement that it was a giant lump of gold. Thus was the nugget found that afterwards became known as the Welcome Stranger to the world. It was resting in bed of stiff red clay, and was only half an inch from the surface, being covered with but a thumb’s thickness of earth. The spot had often been walked over before. Mr Deason, after digging around the nugget, attempted to prize it up with his pick but the handle broke and he had to go to the house for a crowbar. Whilst there he told Mrs Deason of the find, and she went to the paddock near by for Mr Oates, telling him that he was wanted. Mr Oates could hardly believe the evidence of his eyes when he found what he was wanted for. A lump of gold that measured about 21 inches x 10 inches before him. At once part of the live stringy bark root ran right through the gold, a solid and unbroken ring of gold completely encircling it this next to the weight was the Welcome Stranger’s most remarkable feature and one that is almost unknown.

As with adherent quartz, etc, the nugget then weighed 3 hundredweight, they had to bring up the dray to get to the house. Hardly knowing what to do, they at first put it in the forge “That worth £5,000 Dick”. When weighed afterwards, at the bank its value proved to be a little short of £10,000. Eventually they wheeled it in a barrow to the fireplace in the house, and left it in the fireplace in the house, and left it in the fire for 10 hours to burn away the debris, they sat round the fire most of that night, each perhaps with his own thoughts, watching the golden flames leaping round the richest lump of gold of which the world has authentic record. Though it was in the house till the following Tuesday, no-one (except Mr & Mrs Deason and their family of three and Mr Oates) knew of it till the Monday after it was found, although visitors called on Sunday.

On Monday Mr Brown and his wife came over to Deason’s and they were the first to see it. Next day (which was Tuesday following the find) Messers Oates, Deason and Brown, Eudie and McCoy took the nugget in the dray to Dunolly. It and the pieces that were broken off, were wrapped in calico bags. The main piece, which weighed 128 pounds was put in a kerosene case, but the bottom fell through. 70 pounds of quartz have been crushed from the nugget for 60 ounces gold, this also was taken in. Arriving at the London Chartered Bank Brown asked the manager how much he would give for the gold by the hundredweight. The manager stared. “How much will you give for 2 hundredweight”, then said Brown and the nugget was produced. As the big piece was heavy for the scales, it was taken to Wall’s blacksmith shop and cut with a chisel. The official return of the nugget showed that 98.66 was pure gold.

The different amounts were –
Lot 1 2268 ounces, 10 dwt, 14 grains
Lot 2 27 ounces, 7 dwt, 14 grains
Lot 3 6 ounces, 6 dwt, 15 grains
Present 10 ounces, 15 dwt, 6 grains
Finder 2 ounces, 17 dwt, 12 grains

Value £9,534.0.0.

The old house in Little Bulldog Gully is gone now but the cultivated paddock still remains. A small stick is all that marks the exact spot of this memorable find. In accounts of this discovery, it is usually stated that the finders at the time were “hard up” could no longer get credit, etc. This is not true, as they had been on a payable run of gold for months, had some ounces of gold in the house, and a crop of valuable wheat, stock and they owed no man anything. The nugget was nevertheless, a most “Welcome Stranger”. For some time after the find Messrs Deason and Oates continued to work together; then Mr Oates went home to live with his family in Woodstock on the Loddon, about 25 miles away.

Comments:
- although containing much new and plausible information this report contradicts 1869 reports which indicate that the nugget was broken up at the bank, i.e. it did not leave the bank. However, it is possible that the tools required to break it up were brought up from the blacksmith’s shop;
- it also indicates that Richard Oates “went home to live with his family in Woodstock”. Richard was not married at this time. He returned to Cornwall to marry before returning to Victoria.
John Deason’s own account, documented 23 November 1905 (at age 75 years), publication unknown, about 1905:

It was between 9 and 10 a.m. on the fifth of February, 1869. I was at work picking the surface for puddling and put the pick in the ground and felt what I thought was a stone, the second blow struck in the same way and the third time also, I scraped the ground with the pick and saw gold; then I cleared away further and right around the nugget. There was a stringy bark root going right across it and a small bit of gold stood up and the root of the stringy bark ran through this. I tried to prise the nugget up with the pick but the handle broke. I then got a crowbar and raised the nugget to the surface. It weighed nearly three hundred weight (4,300 ounces), at first there was much quartz with the gold. As the nugget lay in the ground, the solid piece of gold was underneath and it was deep in the ground but the top of the nugget was not more than 1” below the surface. The nugget was about 18” wide and about 16” deep. My mate, Richard Oates, was working a short distance below the puddling machine in his paddock and I sent my son down to call him. When my mate came, I said “What do you think of it Dick? It is worth about £5,000” “Oh” he said “more like £2,000”. We then got the dray and lifted the nugget into it and carted it down to my hut, which stood about 1 ½ chains to the north of the puddling machine. We took it out of the dray and put it into the fireplace, built a good fire on it and kept it burning for about 10 hours, leaving it to cool for 2 hours, we sat up all night breaking it free from the quartz. My wife, my mate and myself were the only persons who saw the nugget as it was first found. When it was cool we broke 70 pounds quartz away free from it. Besides detached pieces of gold there was one solid piece of it that weighed 128 pounds troy (1,536 ounces). This was on the bottom of the nugget as it lay in the ground. There was a great deal of loose gold when the quartz was broken off. The 70 pounds of quartz broken away had course and fine gold through it. It was taken to Mr Edward Udey’s battery close by and a load of other quartz with no gold in it was crushed with it and 60 ounces of smelted gold obtained.

Several small pieces of gold and quartz were broken off and given to friends after the burning. About 5 ounces of gold was given away and this has never been reckoned in with the weight of the nugget as sold to the bank. I still have a small piece of the gold, the only bit that is left (2 to 3 dwts, now in the Melbourne National Museum). The total weight of the gold was over 200 pounds troy (2,400 ounces). It was put in a calico bag and taken in Mr Udey’s spring cart to the London Bank, Dunolly. My mate, Mr Udey and I went with it. The gold was smelted and yielded 2,380 ounces of gold over 23 carats fine. The bank paid us £9,563 for it.

Notes:
John Tully (Dunolly Museum) has a transcription of the above document (sighted in 2006) which differs as follows:
o includes the following additional opening paragraph:
The following is John Deason’s account of the discovery of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget as signed by him (with his mark) in November 1905.
Comment: the term “with his mark” is usually a sign of illiteracy. However, John Deason was literate: he is known to have signed his name at the time of his two marriages in 1851 and 1858,. This leaves the question - why does this transcript contain “make his mark”?
o includes the following closing note in reference to: “the only bit left”:
*Note: This was shown to Mr E. J. Dunn, Director of the Geological Survey. It is a specimen of about 2 to 3 dwts of gold with grey quartz and is little more than one inch long.
o and did not include the text:
“(2 to 3 dwts, now in the Melbourne National Museum)”
Comment: this reference may have been added later (i.e. after pieces were given to the National Museum, Melbourne.

Further research required to determine original & subsequent (if any) publications

- Old pioneer passes away, Death of Mr John Deason, Finder of the “Welcome Stranger nuggett, possibly written by a family member for use as an eulogy at John’s funeral, 15 September 1915

Note: document incomplete – only first page survives.

The death took place at Moliagul on Monday last of a very old and highly esteemed resident of the district in the person of Mr John Deason, at the advanced age of 86 years. Deceased was a native of Cornwall, England and came to this State in the early 50’s. After spending some little time in other places, Mr Deason came to Moliagul and took up his residence at Little Bull-dog Gully about three to four miles south of Mount Moliagul. He was shortly afterwards joined by a man named Richard Oates– who had known Deason from boyhood– and they again became mates. A block of land was taken up and put under cultivation, whilst they filled in their spare time prospecting for gold. They were spurred on in this latter work by the knowledge that previously several nice specs had been obtained in the vicinity where their house stood. This run of gold was eventually picked up by the prospectors and for over a year they followed its course up a small hill near the gully. One morning- Friday, February 5th, 1869 to be exact – whilst Oates was engaged harrowing, Deason went to work to get out enough dirt for another machine. About 9 o’clock whilst surfacing a few chains from the house, the pick struck something solid. He picked in two or three places, and each time struck what he naturally thought was a large stone. Loosening the earth from around it, Mr Deason found to his amazement that it was a giant lump of gold. The nugget was only about half an inch below the surface and had been walked over many times previously. Deason attempted to prize it up with his pick but the handle broke and he had to proceed to the house for a crowbar. Whilst there he informed Mrs Deason of his discovery and Oates was also informed and neither could realise it when they beheld a lump of gold that measured 21 inches by 10 [inches] before them and which afterwards became known throughout the world as the “Welcome Stranger” Nugget. The nugget then weighed 3 cwt and the finders were at a loss to know what to do with it. It was naturally wheeled to the house and placed in the fire place, so that the debris might be allowed to burn off. Though it was Tuesday [end of page – no further record]

Obituary from Dunolly and Betbetshire Express, Friday, 17th September 1915:

Note: due to the paper being bound and micofiched it is not possible to exactly determine some words.
Moliagul

The late Mr John Deason

In our last issue we announced the death of Mr John Deason, of Moliagul, which had taken place last Monday afternoon. The intelligence reached us too late for any extended notice of the life of a gentleman who is a historic figure in the records not only of this district, but of Australia. Mr John Deason was 85 years of age at the time of his death, and had spent the greater part of his life in Australia. He had not been in good health for several weeks past, but in indomitable spirit had sought to overcome physical ailments, and he had only been confined to his room for about a week prior to his death. Indeed, while it was generally known that he was not in robust health, the intelligence of his death was somewhat unexpected, and old hands in Dunolly and district received confirmation with very sincere and sad regret. He had visited Dunolly (word unclear) up to within a short period of his last illness, and, although it was believed that feebleness was growing on (last word guessed) him, there did not appear to be anything to cause apprehension. To the very last he maintained that spirit (word unclear) had enabled him during many difficulties and vicissitudes to uphold a very high standard of manhood, and make deep impress on the life of Australia. It is not that he was associated with some of the most romantic incidents of Victorian history, so much that in shadow and in shine preserved a fearless and independent spirit (last word guessed), sad in adversity as in success he (word unclear) the sturdy Britisher always.

Mr Deason was born 85 years ago at Tresco, Scilly Isles, off the coast of Cornwall, in the south-west of England, he (last word guessed) arrived in Victoria 61 years ago. Young, (last word guessed) vigorous and healthy, he, as most poor adventurous young men did, (word unclear) on the pursuit of gold digging, which he met with varying success. (word unclear) when Moliagul first become known (last word guessed) as a mining centre Mr Deason (word unclear) there, one of many youthful, ardent (word unclear). It may be said that the Moliagul district gave, as it gives now, many opportunities, while, as was the case on all goldfields, it taxed manhood, (word unclear), and strength, and provided many (last word guessed) disappointments. Still Mr Deason solidly (last word guessed) worked through all, and met a reward which is notable even in the annals of the gold digger's life, in which many surprises entered. Moliagul is distinguished as having provided (last word guessed) probably the greatest surprise of them all, in which Mr John Deason was one of the conspicuous parties (last word guessed).

In partnership with the late Mr Richard Oates he worked for years, stated (last word guessed) with varying fortunes, some times (last word guessed) doing well, and at other times finding (last word guessed) it difficult to make the two (word unclear) meet. This of course was the valuable experience of the adventurous young (last word guessed) digger in those early days. However, patience, industry, and pluck (word unclear) rewarded when, in February of 1869, a discovery was made which (word unclear) Victoria and the world. The miners one morning in that month set (last word guessed) forth as usual, and after some (word unclear) of work they struck what is (word unclear) to have been the largest solid (word unclear) of gold ever unearthed on any goldfield.

The story has more than (word unclear) appeared in the columns of the "Express," and in journals and pamphlets with more or less accuracy in Australia, Great Britain, and America. Some sensational features have been (word unclear) from time to time, which had no (word unclear) existence in connection with (word unclear) fact. There is no necessity for (word unclear) to reproduce all details, but in the history (last word guessed) of gold digging, the discovery (word unclear), without embellishment, was sufficiently sensational. The rough weight of the (last word guessed) nugget unearthed on this February forenoon by Messrs Deason and Oates was 280 lbs., giving when cleaned a weight of pure gold of 210 lbs., the net value of which was £9555. The nugget was christened the "Welcome Stranger," and by that name (word unclear) it was known to history of early Victorian gold digging. It is said that some (last word guessed) other nuggets have been larger (word unclear) more valuable, but we have never been (last word guessed) able to find that this was the case (last word guessed), so we may conclude that Moliagul was the scene of the discovery of the largest nugget ever known, and that (last word guessed) discoverers were Messrs Deason and Oates. The gold was conveyed in a (last word guessed) dray to Dunolly and sold at the London Bank, and there are photographs and pictures of the scene in front (last word guessed) of the bank when the monster was brought in by the fortunate discovers.

That is old history. Each (word unclear) his own way followed up the fortune (word unclear) laid. Mr Oates went into farming pursuits, and died some years ago at Woodstock, where he had acquired a very valuable property. Mr Deason remained on the old spot, and did much to develop mining resources at Moliagul, which he firmly believed were substantial. His fine independent character and enterprise have been manifested ever since.

As has been indicated he was a man of strong personality, and of high honor and probity. At times his views clashed with those of others who, like himself, were "architects of their own fortune," but to the last he was tenacious of those principals in which the individual manhood of the race is manifested. He entered into business of a storekeeper at Moliagul, but mining always had its fascination for him, and, while attending to business, he sought on his own account to develop the at the time well known Wayman's Reef, on which he expended a great deal of money with not the fullest results he had anticipated. On his own account he thoroughly equipped it with all necessary plant. Later he established a public battery, which was a great boon to prospectors, the public, and Moliagul, and (last word guessed) in this he had considerable success as well as assisting the district. He established a sawmill, and later on settled down quietly to farming pursuits at "The Springs," Moliagul. Mr and Mrs Deason brought up a fine family, the members of which are well known and held in the very highest respect, following in the footsteps of honored parents. Some of the family reside and are settled in the district; others in other parts of the Commonwealth. Mr Deason was twice married, and he has left a widow and five sons and four daughters. Deep sympathy is felt for the widow in the severing of a tie of such long duration and for the members of the family. There is consolation for them in the knowledge of the honorable and honored career of husband and father so greatly appreciated by the community. The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, the interment taking place in the Moliagul cemetery. There was a large gathering at the graveside, indicating the respect entertained for the deceased and the sympathy felt for widow and family. The pall bearers were the sons of deceased - Messrs Thomas, Hugh, Henry, Alfred and James. The Rev. J. T. Field, Methodist Church, Dunolly, conducted the service at the grave. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs Stafford and Sons.


Gold-seekers of the ‘Fifties’, from the Argus, Thursday, 9 September 1926:


… The fascination of gold-digging in Victoria was greatly increased by the occasional finds of very large nuggets, some of which became world-famous.

… No more typical example of the dramatic rewards that occasionally fell to the lot of the diggers can be quoted than the finding of the “Welcome Stranger” nugget, which occurred at Dunolly in February, 1869. For purposes of record the Mines department obtained a sworn statement from Mr John Deason, the man who actually uncovered the gold. In this statement Mr Deason tells how he was poking with a fork into the ground, and in 3 in[ches] below the surface encountered some obstacle. This he uncovered with his pick and found it to be a mass of quartz and gold. The root of the stringybark tree, growing close by, had spread right across it, and had become partially entangled with the quartz. In endeavouring to prise the mass from its bed Mr Deason broke his pick handle. He then called his mate, Mr Richard Oates, and they discussed its value, believing it to be worth anything from £2,000 to £5,000. Attracting as little attention as possible, they put the nugget on their dray, and removed it to Deason’s hut, where they put it in the fire, and kept it there for 10 hours, in order to get rid of the quartz. The two men and Mrs Deason were the only ones who saw the nugget in its natural state. All the models in existence are those taken after the quartz had been removed. The size of the original mass was 18 in[ches] long, 16 in[ches] wide, and 14 in[ches] deep. It yielded over 200 lb troy of gold, and was purchased by the London Chartered Bank at Dunolly, the finders receiving £9,436/16/8 for it. …

Comments:
• the Welcome Stranger was not found at Dunolly but at Moliagul;
• the tree was not a stringybark but an ironbark. Stringybark eucalypts are found in wet high country;
• There is no mention in the Gold Warden’s report of 12 February 1869 of John Deason being required to submit a sworn statement.


The Welcome Stranger from the Argus, Saturday, 23 May 1931:


… The story of the Welcome Stranger, the largest lump of gold ever found, has been told a hundred times in a hundred different ways, but not previously to the statement in the English publication , “The Stage Coach,” that it was found in South Africa, has the honour of discovery been diverted from Australia. Though South Africa has produced an enormous quantity of gold it has not furnished any nuggets. After 60 years a slightly varied rendering of the discovery is given as coming direct from Deason, one of the discoverers of the giant slug. The accepted story is that the men had decided to abandon their claim at Moliagul, and would have done so but for bad weather, which held them in their camp. The rain had washed a little of the surface soil from the nugget lying in the track used by the delivery carts of the district tradesmen. It was unearthed without delay. The latest account of the “find” comes from Dr Laver, of Kalgoorlie, brother of the famous international cricketer, who has in his possession a piece chipped from the large nugget. He says that Deason had been in the habit of sweeping the litter from the entrance to the camp for a distance of a few feet on either side. The sweeping had been regular for weeks, and some of the overburden was borne away by the broom, so the nugget was exposed. To rid it of attached quartz and ironstone it was placed in a huge fire of wood. So thorough was the removal of waste that the mass lost in the process of smelting not quite 1 lb weight. It reduced to 2,268 oz, and was valued at £9,534. The piece in Dr Laver’s museum is the only remnant of the largest lump of gold found in the world.

Comments:
• The site where the nugget was found on Deason & Oates claim was about 200 metres from the Deason home. This site where the gold was found was clearly marked from the time of its discovery.
• Some of the gold from the nugget was given away to friends and family. There are still examples today of the gold in its original state and jewellery made from the gold. Dr Laver’s piece was certainly not the ‘last’ piece in existence in 1931.
• Rain – heavy rain did occur in the early part of February 1869 after a long dry period.


Famous Nuggets – The Wheel of Fortune from the Argus, Saturday, 19 March 1932:


The Welcome Stranger, the largest of all known nuggets, weighing 2,520 oz gross, was revealed at Moliagul in 1869 in a rut made by the wheel of a cart. It lay hidden on the extreme margin of a patch of gravel, and it might not have been found by the owners of the claim, John Deason and Richard Oates, but for the timely revelation made by the cartwheel. The two men had been at work on the claim for some time, but they had had very little luck. During a spell one morning they saw the baker’s cart approaching. They owed the baker money, but he knew that Deason and Oates were good fellows, and he was giving them credit. Nevertheless Deason and Oates were disconsolate as the baker handed them a fresh supply of bread, and they had to tell the same old story, “No luck yet.” The cart went on its way, and the men were walking to their hut for their midday meal when Oates noticed a dull gleam in a rut made in the gravel by the wheel of a cart. It was the gleam of gold. Soon the Welcome Stranger, disturbed from its bed an inch below the surface, lay exposed to the sunlight. To the finders it brought prosperity, and all over the world its fame spread, bringing unrest to quiet homes, and tearing men from the fireside to travel thousands of miles overseas.

The discoverers carried the nugget to their hut and heated it in the fire to get rid of the quartz attached to it, and thus reduce the weight before conveying it to the bank at Dunolly. The smelted gold weighed 2,268½ oz, but a number of specimens and pieces of gold weighing more than 1 lb were detached from the nugget before it reached the hands of the bank manager, and its net weight is recorded as 2,284 oz. The London Chartered Bank advanced Deason and Oates £10,000. Commenting on the discovery a few days later, the Ballarat “courier” stated: - “instead of going on the spree, having a burst, randan, or racket, or whatever name the process is known by which health is impaired and the pocket emptied, we understand that Deason and Oates, after drawing a few pounds for current expenses, and paying off their little debts, went quietly to work again. They deserve to have a welcome Stranger a piece.
The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” from the Dunolly & Betbetshire Express and County of Gladstone Advertiser, Tuesday, 5 April 1932 , (an extract from Dunolly Express, 12 February 1869), p 1:

The Dunolly district, after having turned out a multitude of nuggets that puts every other goldfield in the colony in the shade, has at length “beat the world” in producing the largest mass of gold on record. The “Welcome Stranger” was found by two men named John Deason and Richard Oates on Friday last, February 5 1869, near the Black Reef, Bulldog Gully, Moliagul, a short distance from Wayman’s Reef, and only about a mile from the celebrated Gipsy diggings. Deason and his mate have been working in the ground for several years past, but with little result. Still they persevered, until on the day named, Deason, in working round the roots of a tree, at about two inches below the surface, struck something hard with a pick. On stooping down to examine the obstacle, he found the object of his dearest wishes was lying at his feet, and it seemed as if the monster was so large as to be immovable. It was, however, at length released from its virgin soil, and carefully removed. When the men got to Dunolly with their prize they were advised to take it to the bank, and forthwith carried it to the London Chartered. The weight in gross was found to be two hundred and ten pounds troy, and preparations were at once made to break the mass to pieces and smelt it. The appearance of the “Welcome Stranger” in its primitive state was something wonderful. Many efforts were made to lift it, and many exclamations of surprise expressed at its immense weight and compactness. A sledge-hammer and cold chisels were brought into requisition, and at length, after no less than five hours hammering, the monster was pounded up, and smelted, the result being 2,268 ozs 10 dwts 14 grs of gold, exclusive of at least a pound weight, which was given by the delighted finders to their numerous friends. Several interesting incidents might be published in connection with the finding, and finders of the nugget, Messrs Deason and Oates inform us that they came to the colony in the year 1854. On the 19th February in that year they reached Bendigo, and from that time they had been engaged as working miners, with varied successes. About seven years ago they settled down in Moliagul, and have been steadily working there ever since, chiefly washing about nine inches to a foot of the surface soil, in an old fashioned horse-puddling machine. Mr Deason informed us that they had many times washed the whole week for half an ounce of gold. Within about one hundred yards from the spot where the “Welcome Stranger” was unearthed they, some time ago, found two other nuggets, one weighing 108 ounces and the other 36 ounces. It is to be regretted that the “Welcome Stranger”, the largest mass of gold ever found, at any rate of which there is a record, should have been melted own before any model of it was made and the fortunate owners expressed to us their regret that such had been the case. The mass was taken to Mr Deason’s hut and placed in the fire for the purpose of rendering the quartz friable, and Deason sat up the whole Friday night, burning, and reducing the mass into a somewhat manageable shape. This done, they took it to Dunolly as previously stated, and the nugget was at once broken up and smelted.

The following is the result of the assay as supplied by Mr Birkmyre to the “Argus”:- The gold of this nugget from the crucible assays I find to be 98.66 per cent pure gold. It thus contains only 175th of alloy composed chiefly of silver and iron. The smelted gold, with that unmelted given away to their friends by the fortunate finders, amounted to 2,280 ozs or 2,251 ozs of pure gold, its value at the Bank of England being £9,534.
The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” from Dunolly & Betbetshire Express and County of Gladstone Advertiser, Tuesday, 6 February, 1934, p 3:

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the finding of the “Welcome Stranger”, the largest mass of gold in one piece ever found. Of late there have been varied stories respecting the finding of the nugget. Last year an English paper under the title “Strange but True”, published a drawing supposedly depicting the finding of this famous nugget. Two men were excitedly looking at the mass of gold in a shallow hole and waving their hats in the air. Other miners were hurrying to the spot. The picture did not much resemble a mining rush, and certainly it did not in any way depict the finding of the Welcome Stranger. And the strangest feature of the picture was that on the hip of each miner was a large leather holster containing a pistol. A bit of modern gangster touch put to an old historic mining incident. Then stories have been related in the Press from time to time as to the actual finding. One stated that Mr Richard Oates came to Dunolly from Moliagul to obtain some provisions. During the absence Mrs Deason was washing under the shade of a large tree, while her husband, Mr John Deason, sat disconsolately in front of their tent. Mrs Deason threw the washing water on the ground, and on Mr Oates’s return the wheel of the dray sank into the soft ground and exposed the edge of the nugget. Another story was that the two men were together when they found the nugget, and had to procure assistance to remove it to their home. Then it has been stated that the finders broke the nugget up at home and brought it to Dunolly in boxes as if it were eggs and butter. Another well known writer, now of the “Argus”, gave the information that the nugget was cut into pieces in the yard at the rear of the London Chartered Bank, and that for months afterwards persons sought fragments of the precious metal from the famous nugget. The finding of the nugget created a sensation through out the world at the time, and it is only to be expected that romantic stories from time to time would be woven round the subject which had caused such widespread interest. No doubt these are accepted as true versions by the present day readers throughout the world, but they are generally read with a credulous smile by residents of the district, who are more fully acquainted with the actual details. Many knew Messrs Oates and Deason intimately, and descendants of the lat[t]er still reside at Moliagul and Dunolly.

The true facts of the finding of this famous nugget are quite interesting enough without any fulsome exaggeration. Messrs Deason and Oates were not “pigrooting” the country, as has been asserted by one writer, but were removing the surface gravel from the side of the hill and putting it through a puddling machine. They had been so, employed for some considerable time, and some time previously had obtained two nuggets. While the Welcome Stranger was found in alluvial, it is now generally recognised that it was associated with an indicator, and had been detached and got mixed up with the gravel.

Messrs Deason and Oates had met with the vicissitudes associated with the digging days. An order had been sent for groceries and the grocer had refused to send a bag of flour and other things. Mrs Deason went across to inform her husband of the grocer’s refusal. “Oh, well, mother,” replied Mr Deason, “you have some flour, eggs, etc, and we might have some luck tomorrow”. And Mrs Deason stood on a slab of ironstone near where her husband was getting the material for the puddling machine, but little did she dream of the wealth that was concealed beneath that block of stone.

John Deason and Richard Oates, two Cornish miners, came to the colony of Victoria in 1854, and on the 19th February reached Bendigo. They engaged in gold digging with varying success. In 1862 they arrived at Moliagul, and settled there, being engaged in washing from nine inches to a foot of the surface in a horse puddling machine. Many times they had washed for a whole week for half an ounce of gold. Within a hundred yards of where they found the Welcome Stranger they had come across nuggets of 108 ounces and 36 ounces. On Friday morning, February 5th, 1869, Mr Deason was getting the dirt for the puddling machine, while his mate, Mr Richard Oates, was attending to a wheat stack in their paddock, about a quarter of a mile away. Mr Deason drove his pick under the ironstone slab, and the point of the pick struck the object with a thud. The strange sound attracted Mr Deason’s attention. He drove the pick in again a little further along and there was a similar sound. He then cleared some of the dirt away, and could see the gleaming steak of gold. Mr Deason tried to lever the mass out with his pick, but broke the handle. He then went and called to his mate, and they turned the stone and gold over. They took it to Mr Deason’s home (a four-roomed slab dwelling) and placed it in the large fireplace, with two objects in view – that of concealment and to make the stone friable. Mr Deason sat up all night, breaking the stone. On the Saturday morning they put the gold into their dray and brought it to Dunolly. They drew up on the site where the post office now stands, where the lucky finders showed the gold to several residents, including the grocer who had refused them credit.

As the mass was too large to be weighed at the London Chartered Bank, it was taken along to Mr Robert Walls’s blacksmith shop, which then stood to the south of Mr Arch. Walls’s present shop – about the end of the present dwelling. Mr Arch. Walls remembers seeing his father cutting up the mass of gold with cold chisel and sledge hammer. A large number of small pieces were distributed, stated to have totalled about a pound in weight. After about five hours hammering the gold was pounded up and smelted, and the weight given at the time was 2,268 ozs, 10 dwts, 14 grs, and its value £9,534.

No photo was taken of the nugget but the next day Mr Wm. Parker, father of Cr. W. J. Parker, J.P., visited the site of the discovery, and on the exact stop [sic – probably should read ‘spot’] took a photograph of Messrs Deason and Oates and Mrs Deason. Some time later an officer of the Mines Department prepared a model of the nugget under the directions of Mr Deason.

When the late D. J. Duggan was representative in the Legislative Assembly for this district he induced the Mines Department to erect an obelisk on the spot where the nugget was found, as indicated by Mr Deason. It is now an object of much interest. The principal stone in the monument was quarried at Mt. Hooghly. On the stone the weight of the nugget is given as 2316 ounces and valued at £9553. Mr E. J. Dunn, late Government Geologist, in his list of nuggets of Victoria, gives the net weight as 2284 ozs 16 dwts 22 grs. The old puddling machine is still discernable in the landscape.
True story of the world’s largest Nugget, by C P Ward (probably published prior to 1940) :

The following footnote was included in the published version:
Note – as the writer has stated there has [sic] been many versions of this story. Some of the facts here do not agree with the Deasons.

Many stories have been written of the discovery at Moliagul, in 1869, by Messrs Deason and Oates, two Cornish Miners, of the ‘Welcome Stranger’. Some of the versions have been self-contradictory, and others lack essential details. A new and historically accurate account of the finding and sale of the Great Nugget is now supplied for the first time by Mr C Ray of Empress Road, Surrey Hills. Mr ray’s father, Mr George Ray, lived with his family on land adjoining the claim of Deason & Oates when they discovered the Welcome Stranger, and his son is the only man still living who can supply all the facts associated with the romance of the Victorian Goldfields.

This is Mr Ray’s Story –
Although I pass my 70th year, memories of my boyhood days at Moliagul are clear and they are supported by the evidence of my father, who gave me first hand all the salient facts of the discovery and sale of the famous nugget. Early in February, 1869, a dry month as usual of an unusually dry year John Deason & Richard Oates, having come almost to the end of their slender financial resources, were contemplating abandoning their claim at Bulldog Gully, Wayman’s Reef, Moliagul. They had been prospecting there for many months with varying results. Owing to the drought there was not sufficient water in the dam to supply the Puddling Machine to more than half its capacity, and the partners decided to finish up by putting four loads of washdirt through for the day. John Deason began this work and it was arranged that Oates should go to a paddock some distant from the claim and Thresh by Flail a small stack of wheat to be Ground into Flour at the local Mill. This Flour was needed urgently to tide the Small Deason family over the worst effects of the drought.

Having put three loads of Alluvial Dirt through the Puddler, Deason began digging Washdirt for the fourth load, when his pick struck hard on what he thought was a Rock or loose Boulder, a common experience on the claim. With a Cornish Oath, he thought only of the blunted point of the pick. Deason prised the “Rock” from its inch or two of loose earth covering. He was amazed and overjoyed beyond expression as the massive beauty and purity of what is now known as the ‘Welcome Stranger’ Nugget was revealed.

(Preserving the secret)
Hastily replacing the “Rock” in its Setting – the reason for which will appear later – Deason hurried across to the house to tell his wife of the Discovery. As I remember her, Mrs Deason was a lovely woman, one of the best of the wonderful mother’s of those Pioneering Days. The two elder children were soon sent with a message to Richard Oates, who was asked to return from the paddock at once. He was amazed and elated at the Discovery, and he agreed to keep the matter secret. So the partners hovered about the claim on various pretexts until nightfall, when the huge nugget was lifted and placed in the chimney fireplace of the Deason’s house, where screened and camouflaged, it was carefully guarded by the prospectors while the necessary arrangements were made for the nugget to be broken upon the Anvil in the black-smiths Forge on the claim. This work was done with great care and secrecy and the Broken fragments of the beautiful Nugget were packed in boxes ready for conveyance to the bank at Dunolly, some 10 miles distant. Trusted neighbours and friends of the two families, with a borrowed wagon were used for the safe transit of the Welcome Stranger Gold to Dunolly. Packed in boxes, disguised as packages of farm produce, the Gold was placed in the farm Wagonette, and was conveyed by the partners to Dunolly. On arrival at the Bank of Victoria in Broadway, Deason entered the Bank to negotiate the sale leaving Oates on guard with the very precious cargo outside. Deason, who knew the manager well, asked “What are you paying for Gold now?” “Oh, about £4 an ounce”, the manager replied. “An ounce be blowed”.

To the astonishment of the bank officials – Oates brought in and placed on the counter the glittering fragments of the Welcome Stranger. After some unsuccessful efforts on the part of Deason to induce the manager to give a higher price an ounce than that first offered, Deason remarked, “we can do better across the road”, and at once removed the boxes of gold to the London Chartered Bank, on the opposite side of Broadway. The manager of the London Chartered bank, quick to realize the value and importance of such a sensational deal came near to Deason’s Terms, and ultimately he paid.

The Welcome Stranger £9,553 for the 2,316 ounces of Pure Gold which the broken up nugget yielded.
Gold – Two Hundredweight of it, from Picture News, 2 March, 1940, pps 34 & 35:

Pioneer Remembers How Her Father Unearthed “The Welcome Stranger”

This Is How She Tells The Story
Surrounded by relics, never without memories of an epic event of her childhood, Mrs E. Robertson [sic – should read ‘Robinson’ – see Notes] lives in an atmosphere of the past.

So vividly etched on her mind are circumstances surrounding the discovery of the Welcome Stranger – biggest nugget ever found – that now – 71 years later – she recalls the morning when as a toddler she saw her father, the late Mr John Deason, dig the golden monster from the earth.

In partnership with Mr Richard Oates, a lifelong friend (they had been choir boys together in their native Cornwall) Mr Deason was prospecting and cropping at Little Bulldog Gully, Mount Moliagul with a fair amount of success. On the eventful morning, Feb 5, 1869, Oates was harrowing on the property while Deason puddled for gold, not far from the homestead.

Suddenly his pick struck a heavy obstacle. The handle broke. Cursing his luck, Deason scraped around the obstruction and uncovered virgin gold.

Mr Deason ran screaming across the paddocks for Oates to bring the dray. “What have you got, John?” he asked. “Gold, replied Deason. “Gold by the hundredweight!”

Then a banquet was given to trusted neighbours and they were enlisted as escorts to Dunolly bank. Amazed, the bank manager was unable to weigh the gold. The nugget was cut up on an anvil of Wall’s blacksmith shop, and onlookers seized flying pieces of gold. A special train was commissioned to convey over 2316 ounces of pure gold to Melbourne, and returned with £9436.

Mr Deason speculated, bought steam puddlers, and employed most of his neighbours, but lost the fortune in a fruitless attempt to find more big nuggets. Mrs Robertson [sic] treasure’s many documents, mementoes of the big strike.

This Is How They Told It 71 Years Ago
That’s the story as it is told today, but this is how Melbourne first received the story in a Melbourne daily newspaper more than a week after the nugget had been discovered.

Deason and his mate persevered until, on the day named, Deason in working round the roots of a tree struck something hard with a pick, and exclaimed, ‘D_n it, I wish it was on a nugget I had broken the pick’.

“The news of the discovery soon spread and the London Chartered Bank, to which they carried their prize, was crowded with eager spectators, amongst whom was a number of Chinamen.

“The appearance of the Welcome Stranger in its pristine state was something wonderful and it seemed impossible to realise the fact that so great a mass of gold could be collected in one lump. But so it was.

“Many efforts were made to lift it, and many exclamations of surprise expressed at its immense weight and compactness.

“It is much to be regretted that this, the largest mass of gold ever found, at any rate of which there is a record, should have been melted before any model of it was made, and the fortunate owners expressed to us their regret that such had been the case.

“But when they discovered it, the mass, as may be supposed, was unwieldy, so much so that it had to be forced from its bed by a large lever, and the place is a very solitary one, anything indeed, but such a place as would care to keep £10,000 worth of gold or risk making its discovery known until it could be surrounded by the necessary protection. We are glad that the monster has fallen to the lot of such steady and industrious men”

Notes:
- Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Deason married Hugh Robinson in 1892, Dunolly. Hugh died in 1902, Moliagul. They had three children: one daughter and two sons. See Elizabeth Deason (1866-1953) for more information.
- the railway did not reach Dunolly until 3 October 1874, almost 5 years after the finding of the Welcome Stranger nugget.
Gold – Two Hundredweight of it, from Woman, 14 October 1940, p 13:

Woman Tells How Her Father Dug Up World’s Biggest Nugget
Few Australian women are richer in memories than Mrs. E. Robertson [sic – should read ‘Robinson’ – see Notes], of Maribyrnong, Victoria – a little old lady who, 71 years ago, saw her father dig from the earth “The Welcome Stranger”, the biggest nugget of gold ever found.

In her modest home Mrs. Robertson [sic] lives in an atmosphere of the past. Faded photographs, dusty documents and other relics, all highly treasured and closely guarded, serve as a constant reminder of the glamorous days when the discovery of the golden monster caused a major sensation throughout the world – a sensation which was revived not long ago when a replica of the nugget acted as magnet to thousands of incredulous visitors to the San Francisco Exhibition.

As might be expected, many yarns have been spun, and many romantic stories written around the discovery. But Mrs. Robertson [sic], on whose mind the circumstances are vividly etched, says that the facts have never been told.

She consented last week to give the true story.

Probably the most popular fable surrounding the discovery of the Welcome Stranger is that at the time of his big strike, Mr. John Deason, Mrs. Robertson’s [sic] father, was in extremely poor circumstances. This was not so. Hidden in the ceiling of his home Mr Deason had 10 ounces of gold, which he had won from a claim nearby.

The late Mr. Deason and his friend, Richard Oates, were prospecting and farming in partnership at Mount Moliagul, Victoria.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Robertson [sic], then a very small child and her brothers played around their two-roomed home, and, as could be expected, the favourite game with the boys was miners.

I have the evidence, never before published, of [sic – probably should read ‘from’] Mrs. Robertson [sic] and members of her family, that the discovery of the Welcome Stranger was directly due to the efforts of one of her brothers on his make-believe claim.

One day nine-year-old Tom, the eldest of the Deason boys, ran to his mother with the news that he had found signs of gold, in the hole where he was puddling in imitation of his father.

But Father was doing quite well at the time.

It was only when his claim petered out that he decided to humor Tom by investigating his story.

He puddled a machine [load] of dirt from his son’s claim and found rich signs of gold.

And beneath the spot he found a gutter, 18 inches deep and four feet wide.

Deason followed the gutter up a slope, puddling as he went, and all the time finding payable gold.

Then came his first big break. He and his partner found a nugget which weighed 32 ounces.

With this discovery the claim appeared to fade out. The partners worked along for a further three chains without seeing a color of gold. Oates returned to the harrow, and Deason prepared to abandon the site.

On Friday, February 5, 1869, Mr. Deason told his wife:
“This is my last day on Tom’s trail. To-morrow I must look elsewhere.”

Taking a pick, he returned to the scene of the previous day’s work.

At 9 a.m. his pick struck a big object. As said later, “I thought it was funny, because I did not know there were boulders on that side of the hill.”

He struck again, and broke handle of the pick.

Cursing his luck, he scraped the dirt from around the obstruction – and uncovered a mass of solid gold.

Frantic cooees brought his wife and children to the scene. He sent his wife for Dick Oates and the dray.

“What have you got?” Oates asked when he arrived.

“Gold”, Deason replied. “Gold by the hundredweight.”

With the aid of a crowbar, the partners levered the monster into the dray, and it promptly fell through the bottom.

But at last they succeeded in getting it to the house, where it was placed in the fireplace to burn away the debris which surrounded it.

That night Deason, his wife, and children sat with Oates around a fire, the heart of which was a mass of solid gold.

Until Monday nobody left the house.

Then Deason, dressed in his Sunday suit, visited his amazed neighbours and gave invitations to a party at his home that evening.

Mysterious Object
The party proved a marked success. Supper was served on an old-fashioned table, on the end of which rested a mysterious object covered by a cloth.

As the guests prepared to leave Deason played his master-stroke.

Whipping the cover from the nugget, he said, “Don’t go home, boys. That’s solid gold, and I want you to stay to-night and escort it to the bank at Dunolly to-morrow.”

Nobody slept in the Deason home that night.

On Tuesday morning the patched-up dray arrived at the London Chartered Bank at Dunolly closely surrounded by a bodyguard. A man named Brown was selected to see the manager.

Entering the bank Brown came straight to the point.

“What are you paying for gold by the hundredweight?” he asked.

The banker stared.
“As a matter of fact,” continued Mr. Brown, “I’d like a price for two hundredweight.” And his mates carried in the nugget.

Convinced that the monster was real, the manager drew attention to the fact that his scales were definitely not designed for weighing such a quantity of gold.

Undaunted, the party adjourned to Wall’s blacksmith shop, placed the nugget on the anvil and cut it up with a chisel.

Meanwhile the news of the amazing discovery spread and almost the entire population of Dunolly hastened to the scene.

As the smith hacked away at the gold pieces flew in all directions and were eagerly seized by onlookers.

Despite these losses, 2316 ounces of gold were deposited in the bank – and conveyed to Melbourne by special train the same night.

At the prevailing rate, the gold was valued at £9436.

To-day it would be worth £20,000.

Oates went to Cornwall, married, and later returned to Australia.

Deason elected to carry on in a quest for still more gold and lost the bulk of his fortune in speculation. But he continued the search until his death in 1915.

His daughter, Mrs. Robertson [sic], married a clergyman and reared a family of three. Two sons are artists.

Now Mrs. Robertson [sic] potters around on her little place at Maribyrnong, attends to her cows and chickens, dreams of the golden days when the Welcome Stranger brought what seemed fabulous fortune to the family – and is content.

Notes & comments:
- Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Deason married Hugh Robinson in 1892, Dunolly. Hugh died in 1902, Moliagul. They had three children: one daughter and two sons. See Elizabeth Deason (1866-1953) for more information.
- the railway did not reach Dunolly until 3 October 1874, almost 5 years after the finding of the Welcome Stranger nugget.
An account by author(s) unnamed (probably written Venus Free (nee Deason, Quambatook, grand-daughter of John Deason) and/or a local Quambatook historian) and published about 1940:

Notes:
• This version appears to be an edited version of Mr Ray’s account as published by M C P Ward prior to 1940 (see previous pages).
• The following footnote was included in the published version:

Mr Ray, over 70 years old when he wrote the story, says that many stories of the finding of the nugget have been written, but most contain some discrepancies.

He contends that the fact of his father being so close to the Cornishman enabled him to obtain the actual authentic facts of the entire story.

Main body of published article:

At the time of the drought and poor results from mining operations had just about driven the prospectors from the goldfields, and the lack of water made the mining job more heartbreaking.

On the day of the discovery of what is believed to be the most valuable nugget of the precious material, Mr Oates was threshing some wheat to make some flour, while in an adjacent area, Mr Deason was somewhat disparity using his miners pick in the hope that he may reap some little amount of gold to bolster the rapidly diminishing finances of the pair of prospectors.

An utterance of a Cornish oath denoted that the pick had struck some hard object to almost ruin the blade, which Mr Deason ruefully noted. But on examination of the object he was to see the magnificent piece of quartz which contained the nugget.

He hastily covered it up to summon his partner and the two immediately realised that they had struck something out of the ordinary. Great precautions were taken to hide the nugget pending the treatment for the removal of the gold nugget and the subsequent transfer of the gold to Dunolly, ten miles away, for valuation and sale.

The wide open fireplace of the miner’s home, was the place selected to “hide” the valuable nugget. Taken by wagonette to Dunolly in cases resembling farm produce the nugget was ready for sale.

Mr Deason approached the manager of one of the town’s banks asking the price of gold. When told £4 per ounce he said that he wanted to talk in terms of hundredweights. The same price applied he was told and being dissatisfied tried an English based bank across the road. Here the manager realised at once the enormity of the nugget and immediately put his price on it.

The Welcome Stranger weighed over 2,000 ounces and the lucky prospectors received the fabulous amount of £9,553 for the gold.

Gold – The Romance of its Discovery in Australia, Charles Barrett
, 1944:

Famous Nuggets
Some lucky diggers have made a fortune at a stroke, unearthing a mass of gold. Many nuggets found in Australia have contained from £500 to £1000 worth of gold. These are not even listed as famous nuggets, of which there were almost a score.

The most valuable of all Australian nuggets, “Holtermann’s”, was found at Hill End, New South Wales, in 1872. It weighed 7560 ounces gross, and was valued at £12,000.

Next comes the “Welcome Stranger”, found at Moliagul, Victoria, in 1869. Its weight was 2284 ounces and its value £9534. A stroke of the pick revealed it, for this world-famous nugget was lying only about one inch below the surface of the ground. Until the discovery of the “Holtermann” the “Welcome Stranger” was the biggest nugget of gold the world had ever seen. Two hundredweights of gold! And for 15 years diggers had frequented the district; many of them doubtless having passed within a few yards of the spot where an inch of soil concealed a fortune which could have been dug out with a bowie knife!

Two experienced miners, John Deason and Richard Oates, left Cornwall for Victoria in 1854. The former was a married man with a family, but Oates was a carefree bachelor. Meeting on the ship they became friends and decided to be mates and work together at the diggings. On the Sandhurst goldfield they had no luck though other miners were making fortunes. Deason proposed Moliagul, where he would select land and combine farming with alluvial gold mining. Oates agreed, and to Moliagul they went, choosing for their mining operations the side of a small hill, to the west of the mountain. They erected a puddling machine, and for several years made fairly good money. Then fortune gave their wheel a turn. A nugget worth £100 was found, to be followed by one worth more than £400. Fortune now reversed her wheel and four lean years left the two mates with very little cash. Even the farm was not paying.

Tucker was scarce, and when Deason asked the storekeeper, to whom they owed money, for a bag of flour on credit, he was refused. The date was February 5th, 1869. Deason’s family went hungry and he and his mate felt desperate when they went to work on their claim that morning. For a while they worked without getting “a color”. Then Deason struck at a clear space between the roots of an old tree; and the pick rebounded. He cursed his luck, believing that the pick was broken. A few moments later he was dancing for joy, and shouting to Oates to “come and see”. That one stroke of the pick had won the mates a fortune. The mass of gold revealed measured a foot in length and nearly as much in width.

“The weight was so great”, writes George Sutherland (in his book, “Tales of the Goldfields”) “that it was difficult for the two men to move it. However, by dint of great exertion, they succeeded in carrying it down the hill to Deason’s cottage, where they commenced to inspect their wonderful treasure. It was so completely covered in black earth, and so tarnished in color that an inexperienced person might have supposed it to be merely a mass of auriferous earth or stone. But its weight at once dispelled all doubt on that point, for it was more than twice as heavy as a piece of iron of the same size. Great was the rejoicing among Deason’s family. The wife piled up a huge fire and the rest of the family stood around watching the operation reducing the mass to the semblance of gold.

Welcome Stranger … an extract from a publication (publisher not indicated on my copy), date unknown:
Large gold nuggets may be considered as characteristically Australian.

Of 47 nuggets weighing over 37 pounds (troy weight) recorded for the world, 40 of these have come from Australia, and 32 from the Central Victorian goldfields.

The largest of these was the ‘Welcome Stranger’ nugget, which was discovered near Black Reef, Bulldog Gully, Moliagul, on Friday 5 February, 1869, by two Cornish miners named John Deason and Richard Oates.

The two mates arrived in Victoria in 1854 and, after spending some time at the Bendigo diggings, they arrived at Moliagul about 1862. For a time they washed surface soil in an old fashioned puddling machine, worked by horsepower.

On the day of the discovery, John Deason was digging near the roots of a tree to get washdirt, when his pick struck something hard. On examining the obstacle, he was amazed to see the huge golden mass. He called his mate, Richard Oates, to view the remarkable discovery and together they eventually removed the nugget from the soil and took it to Deason’s house, where it was placed in the fire to burn off some of the quartz debris.

As robbery with violence was common on the goldfields in those days, the discoverers concealed the nugget at the back of the fireplace and kept the fire burning for several days to conceal it.

On the Monday evening, the finders invited close friends to a party at their home. The nugget was placed on a table and covered with a cloth, which was removed at the right moment, to the amazement of those present.

On the Tuesday morning, the nugget was loaded on a dray, covered with sacks and transported to Dunolly, with close friends forming an escort.

The nugget was sold at the London Chartered Bank, Dunolly. (This building still stands in Broadway, Dunolly, a short distance north of the Historical Museum. The building now the residence of Mr D Wood, has been listed “C” by the National Trust.)

News of the discovery soon spread, and the bank was crowded with eager spectators, among them a number of Chinese.

The nugget’s appearance was described as “Wonderful”, and it was difficult to realise that it was one huge mass of gold.

Owing to its great size (about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide) it had to be broken up before it could be weighed.

At Wall’s blacksmith shop, after several hours of hammering and using cold chisels, the nugget was reduced to a number of fragments on the anvil. This anvil is in the Goldfields Historical Society’s collection of historic relics.

The weight of the nugget was 2,520 ounces gross, and the nett weight, 3,284 ounces 16 dwts, 22 grains.

The Moliagul monument records the weight as 2,316 ounces, which in addition to the net weight previously given, includes amounts given away to friends and kept by the discoverers.

The nugget was sold for £9,553.
In 1896, the Mines Department marked the site of the discovery of the ‘Welcome Stranger’ with a granite obelisk.
“Welcome Stranger” centenary at Moliagul, from Weekly Times, 26 February 1969, p 70:

The discovery of the world’s biggest gold nugget, the famous “Welcome Stranger,” was re-enacted at Moliagul, where it was found 100 years ago.

The nugget was found by John Deason and Richard Oates on February 5, 1869. When weighed at Dunolly four days later, the scales recorded 2520 oz. The nugget was valued at $19,110. Today [1969], it would have brought many times that figure.

Discovery of the “Welcome Stranger” was a highlight of the gold rush era in Victoria, which started in 1851, and which created a transport demand which was mainly responsible for the establishment of the Victorian Railways Department in 1856.

The newspaper continued with the following information - probably from an earlier article written in the Weekly Times, about 1956:


Note on the past, from Weekly Times, 26 February 1969, p71:

A descendant of Deason, a partner in the discovery of the famous Welcome Stranger gold nugget, has died in Melbourne.

She was Mrs. Grace Oates Heraud, born Grace Oates Deason.

Her husband and son live at Red Cliffs, Victoria.

Mrs. Heraud was born at Dunolly 85 years ago.

Her father and a man named Oates found the famous nugget at Tarnagulla – they were penniless when they discovered the huge piece of pure gold.

It was rushed to Dunolly but there were not any scales available that would take its weight.

A memorial to Oates and Deason was built near the spot where the nugget was found. Now, a new generation of prospectors is digging around the memorial seeking more gold.

Mr. Heraud, jnr. says, “I think grandfather got all the gold from that spot.”

His father shaped the imitation stone now in the Melbourne Museum. It was cut from ironstone and painted. Mr. Heraud, snr., is in hospital.


Dunolly: Story of an Old Gold Diggings, The Welcome Stranger, James Flett, 1974, pps 159-163:

The Welcome Stranger
It was at this time that the 'Welcome Stranger' nugget, probably the world's largest, was found at Moliagul on 5 February 1869. A great amount has been written about the finding of this nugget and there is a certain amount of discrepancy in the account. Some narrators even bring up the old story of the gold found in the wheel-track and the starving diggers were so weak with lack of nourishment that it took two of them to pull the nugget out of the ground; reminding one of the diggers who, being at Jordan Rush, Jericho, and Jerusalem River, went to Mount Ararat where, finding numerous chunks of wood in his claim, told the Age reporter it was part of the Ark.

It is uncertain whether John Deason and Richard Oates were feeling the pinch of digging in 1869, but it would be extraordinary if they were not to some degree at least, considering the uncertainty of digging. The report of the finding of the large nugget appeared first in the Dunolly Express on Friday 12 February, and on this date the Warden, F. K. Orme, sent his report of the find to the authorities. The Age reported cryptically in a few short sentences to the effect that 'the world's largest nugget was found on Friday 5 February, at Moliagul’. Orme's report to R. Brough Smyth, Secretary of Mines, being the most authentic, possibly, I give first … (Refer page 31 for Orme’s report).

The report of the finding of the 'Welcome Stranger' that appeared at the time in the Dunolly Express gave a picture of the life of Deason and Oates at Moliagul. They were both Cornishmen and were born and spent their childhood together on Tresco, one of the Scilly Isles about thirty miles off Lands End. Deason was born in 1829. The two came to Victoria together in 1854, and arrived at Bendigo on 19 February of that year, where they were diggers for eight years and on the whole just managed to make a living. They came to Moliagul in 1862 and had land at Little Bulldog Gully and were partners. They had a horse-puddler and were washing about nine inches of the surface. Deason pointed out the peculiar red clay in which the gold was found around the area of the nugget, it being like half-burned brick and its presence was the sure indicator of gold, gold being always found in this. The spot of the find does not look-today appreciably different to what it appeared in the photograph of 1869. There is a streak of red clay down the hill and a view of Mount Bealiba blue over the tops of the black stems of the red ironbark on the hill running down from reef workings just behind the site of the find.

Deason himself found the ‘Stranger’ at 5 pm on the Friday as he was working around the roots of a tree. It was almost on the surface, and a digger’s tent had once been erected on the spot. Deason, it is said, broke his pick trying to get it out of the ground and then covered it up, then he and Oates took it away to his hut after nightfall in a dray. It was almost completely black and had an almost equal bulk of quartz adhering to it. They sent the children away to a neighbours and spent the evening and night burning off the surplus quartz. The debris burned off contained about one and a half pounds of gold and the quartz was a grey colour, according to geologist E. J. Dunn, who was later given a piece of it by Mr Deason. It was, he says, similar to Matrix Reef quartz, which is on the same line of strike. On the Monday evening following the discovery, the finders had a party at their place and put the nugget under a cloth on the table. At the right moment they pulled it off to the general amazement of the crowd, and on the following morning, having abandoned the idea of taking it to Melbourne, they took it in a dray to Dunolly, and to the London Chartered Bank to which they sold it.

It was, says, the Express, 'cut up after five hours of hammering', but somehow one imagines that this happened at the bank and not at the blacksmith’s. Mr Bevan of Camberwell tells me that, he remembers the nugget in pieces on his father's scales in the shop, and I think this was probably correct, as no doubt, the finders were most anxious to find the extent of their wealth as soon as possible, and possibly weighed it there before going to the bank. The bank, pending assay, advanced £9000 on the nugget.

The actual amount paid for the gold sent to the bank was £9534 and Mr Deason sold the debris gold burned on Friday 12 February – 27 ounces. The bank weight of gold paid for was the amount given by Orme, 2268 ounces 10 dwts l4 grains, making a total of 2295 ounces 10 dwts 14 grains, apart from the gold (about one pound) given to friends anxious for souvenirs, and making a full total of about 2307 ounces. Perhaps no one has noticed that all authorities are at variance over the actual amount of gold Deason and Oates got from the ground in the nugget. Orme according to his letter book never established the amount of the ‘debris’ as he promised to do. Birkmyre, who did the assay and specialised in correct weights, gave the total weight of this nugget as 2280 ounces. Mrs Rae, Deason's granddaughter, with the help of Deason's diary, established that he gave away thirty-seven ounces and arrived at a total of 2305 ounces odd, whilst the 'Welcome Stranger' monument at Moliagul makes the amount 2316 ounces. This last is, of course, incorrect if he really did give away thirty-seven ounces and then sold twenty-seven ounces as reported in the Express. The total amount would then be 2382 ounces. According to Birkmyre, there was 2251 ounces of pure gold, value £9534 to the Bank of England, whither it went in five bars (after being remelted in Melbourne) and on the steamship Riegate.

A reporter who went to see Deason and Oates after the find found them hard at work on the puddler as though nothing had happened. So excited was one man at the Rialto when he heard of the Moliagul find that he suggested puddling the whole of Victoria, starting at the seaboard. A writer on the Australasian pictured Deason and Oates decked out in new clothes and hilariously drunk, sporting watches, etc, etc. A Ballarat paper said the 'Welcome Stranger' was nothing and quoted a book about a nugget found in Brazil that weighed, not 2000 ounces, but 2000 pounds. The Maryborough Advertiser, long the enemy of Dunolly, gave the find at Moliagul two lines and said it was found at Bealiba.

Soon after this Oates returned to Lands End and came back with a wife. He was then in Dunolly and Bealiba for many years. He died at Woodstock. Deason remained at Moliagul, and had various crushing machines at various reefs, being unable to give up the gamble of digging. The Mines Department official list of nuggets found in Victoria gives the nett weight of the 'Welcome Stranger' as 2284 ounces 16 dwts 22 grains. John Deason died on 13 September 1915, aged eighty-five and his wife Catherine died on 11 September 1921, aged eighty-five also. The obelisk commemorating the finding was erected by the Mines Department in 1897.

Comment:
• “Mrs Rea” is Edith Minna Deason (1902-?), daughter of Henry Deason (1862-1932) and grand-daughter of John Deason and Catherine Mc Andrew. After Edith’s death her family passed on Deason records and photos to her nephew, Dick Deason, of Moliagul. The material did not include a “diary” as reported by Flett and Dick Deason indicated that he had no knowledge of such a record.

The Welcome Stranger, Terry Potter, 1999, pps 4-17:

THE DISCOVERY.
9 - 10 am Friday 5 February 1869.
John Deason was picking the surface for puddling another dray load of stuff a few chains (40-60 m) from the house. He was working the roots around the base of a stringybark tree (as recorded in the Dunolly paper 1869, the Tarnagulla paper 1915 and Deasons account 1905). Richard Oates was working in Bulldog paddock. Deason was using a pick to free the ground when, with a swing of the pick, it hit what he thought was a stone just below the surface. The local newspaper records, ‘Deason exclaimed, “D--n it, I wish it was a nugget and had broken the pick.”’ A second blow also hit the stone as did the third. He was later to say, “I thought it was funny because I did not know there were boulders on that side of the hill”.

Scraping the ground aside with the pick, he saw gold. Frantically he brushed away more of the ground to reveal more gold. More frenzied scraping and he soon realised that not only was it not a boulder, but it was a nugget and a monster at that, (see Chapt 4 for more detail).

The newspaper quotes, ‘On stooping down to examine the obstacle he found that the object of his dearest wishes was lying at his feet, and it seemed as if the monster was so large as to be immovable.’ A root of the tree extended over the nugget and had grown right through a small projection of gold that stood up from the mass. Deason in 1905 records that he, 'tried to prise the nugget up with the pick but the handle broke. I then got a crowbar and raised the nugget to the surface. My mate Richard Oates was working a short distance below the puddling machine and I sent my son down to call him. When my mate came, I said, “What do you think of it, Dick? Is it worth £5000?” “Oh”, Oates replied, “more like £2000.”

The nugget was 21 inches in length and 10 inches in thickness (0.53 by 0.25 m). It was reported to have almost an equal bulk of quartz adhering to it and was mostly stained black with iron oxides. The nugget was only 1 inch (25 mm) below the surface as it laid in a loose gravelly loam resting on thick red clay with a bottom of sandstone. According to the Argus 1913 the nugget was found on the extreme margin of a patch of gravel.

Thus the Welcome Stranger was found 17 years after gold was first discovered in the region and only 1.2 km from the gully where the original rush occurred. The location had been walked over many times before, but even more astonishing is a report saying that a digger's tent had once been erected over that exacts pot, [probably explaining why he couldn't get his tent pegs in the ground or why the ground was so cold!]

Deasons 1905 account continues, ‘We then got the dray and lifted the nugget onto it and carted it down to my hut, which stood about one and a half chains (30 m) from the old puddling machine. We took it out of the dray and put it in the fire place and built a good fire on it and kept it burning for about l0 hours, leaving it to cool for 2 hours.’ The children were fostered out to the neighbours for the night and Deason and his wife, Catherine, and Oates then stayed up all night cleaning and breaking free the attached quartz.

[It is common practice for gold nuggets or specimens that contain quartz to be heated in a fire which causes the gold metal to quickly expand thus loosening the quartz-gold contacts making it easier to detach the quartz. Quite often it is also quenched in water so that the quartz, being of glass material, suffers thermal shock and is additionally fractured. These methods also help remove any thick coatings of iron oxides.]

With the reality of the situation and the amount of gold in their booty becoming more obvious as the night wore on, one must rely on ones imagination as to the excitement in the hut and the tenor of the conversation during those hours of nurturing and trimming their treasure. With the nugget in its monstrous size and gleaming its brilliance, they were the lucky ones as the gold of their dreams was now before them. It is not recorded when a name for the nugget was chosen or by whom but with the hours it was in the fire and then cooling and the hours during which it was being trimmed, there was plenty of time for it to be to christened The Welcome Stranger. One account states that Deason said, “Welcome Stranger” on first seeing it. No consideration was given to weighing the monster; which is quite understandable considering the excitement and tempo of the moment and the desire of the finders to immediately clean and trim their new found treasure.

In their efforts to clean and trim the nugget of its quartz and ironstone the original single piece of rock became three masses of gold and ‘a great deal of loose gold’. The largest piece represented most of the gold [later weighed at 128 lb Troy, 47 .8 kg] which was at the bottom of the nugget as it lay in the ground.

Deason in his compilation of weights of 13 Feb 1869, Fig 1, records that 72 lbs (32.6 kg) of quartz was removed from the nugget during the night of trimming and that this was heavily studded with coarse and fine gold. As later events infer not all of the quartz was removed from the gold masses in this trimming, a feature giving strong insight into the character of the nugget. Also of importance is that there is no reference to any barren quartz being discarded at any time to lighten it for lifting onto the dray or the fire.

The nugget was discovered on the Friday morning, then heated and cooled and when finally trimmed to be presentable the time had become Saturday morning. This presented the finders with an awkward complication in that the banks were closed so they could not sell it but to keep it was running the risk of robbery with violence as bushrangers were common in the goldfields at that time. Hoping not to draw public attention to their find they kept the discovery to themselves over the weekend. There are many and varied accounts as to where the nugget was safely kept and how it was guarded during this time but the most plausible is that which is handed down via the Oates family who claim that it was dug into the hearth of the fireplace and the fire kept burning for the entire weekend. The Deason Family however claim it was kept under the kitchen table covered by an old oil cloth. Another account states that the nugget was, at one time, placed in Mrs Deason's wash pan as she had once seen her pan full of gold in her dreams and she wanted it to become a reality.
Curiously, the nugget was not taken to the bank on Monday. It is now construed that this is when the 12 lbs of quartz trimmed from the nugget was taken to Mr Edward Endey's stamp battery to be treated for its gold content. A load (1 ton) of barren quartz was mixed with the 72 lbs to aid in the crushing of such rich material. The process would have taken all day involving crushing the material to liberate the gold, amalgamation with mercury, retorting the mercury and then smelting the resultant gold cake. The 72 lb of gold-studded quartz from the nugget yielded 60 ozs (1,866 kg) of smelted gold.

One account relates how, on Monday evening, a few close friends were invited to Deason's hut. The nugget was covered with a table cloth on the end of the table and Deason at the appropriate time announced that he had “picked up a nice speck a few days ago” and invited them to look at it; to the amazement of all present. Another relates that some friends stayed to guard the nugget all night and then rode escort with the finders to the bank the next day.

On Tuesday morning the pieces of the nugget were put in calico bags ‘and the large mass was put in kerosene tin but the bottom fell through’. The nugget was placed on Mr Endey's [Eudey’s] spring cart concealed under Mrs Deason's skirt and Deason and Oates together with the friends rode the 14 km into Dunolly. It appears that their anxiety about the weight became overpowering as on the way they called into the local shop at Inkerman to weigh the nugget against some bags of flour. Another report states that it was taken to Bevans Grocery Store in Broadway, the main street of Dunolly, and weighed on the scales.

The local newspapers states that it was the intention of the finders to take the nugget to Melbourne but at Dunolly ‘they were advised to take it to the bank forthwith’ because some areas of the road were notorious for bushrangers. The London Chartered Bank in Broadway was chosen in order to sell the gold. The manager was Mr John Jesse. Two accounts by descendants of Deason in 1944? state that the convoy firstly went to the Bank of Victoria but not happy with their price per ounce went over the road to the London Chartered Bank. Most of the gold that left Dunolly was dealt with by these two banks.

There are many entertaining accounts of dialogues with the bank manager but one such report states, ‘Deason asked the manager how much he would pay for gold by the hundredweight (50.8 kg). The manager told him how much per ounce. Deason again told him that he had gold by the hundredweight, and asked for payment in those terms, not merely in ounces. Tempers got heated and words began to fly. The bank manager accused Deason of being drunk and showed him the door. Deason went out, then triumphantly returned with friends carrying the bags of gold, which they dumped on the floor.’

Several accounts relate of a Mr Brown, dairyman from further down Bulldog Gully, being sent in to approach the bank manager; maybe it was he who went into the Bank of Victoria? The newspaper of Friday l2 Feb reports, ‘News of the discovery soon spread and the Bank was crowded with eager spectators, among them a number of chinese; and a constable was sent for to safeguard the prize. The appearance of the Welcome Stranger in its pristine state was something wonderful, and it seemed impossible to realise the fact that so great a mass of gold could be collected in one lump. But so it was. Many efforts were made to lift it and many exclamations of surprise expressed at the immense weight and compactness.’

Convinced that the masses of gold were real, the manager drew attention to the fact that the larger mass was too big for his scales, [this being interpreted as the mechanism of the scales not being designed to weigh sch a great quantity of gold or that there were insufficient weights to counterbalance the mass, but not that he size of the mass was too big].

As the bank had no means of cutting the mass it was taken in a wheelbarrow to Archie Wall's blacksmith shop, 150 m further south along the street, where it was placed on the anvil and dissected with a chisel into smaller manageable pieces. These were returned to the bank and weighed separately to give a total weight of 128 lb Troy (41.115 kg). Combining the individual weights of the now dissected larger mass, the two smaller masses, the bar of smelted gold and the loose detached pieces the total weight of the trimmed nugget amounted to 2l0 lbs Troy (78.381k g), Fig 3.

News of the discovery of a monster nugget of 210 lbs Troy was sent afield on Tuesday afternoon 9 Feb 1869 by Electric Telegraph thereby defining when the nugget was weighed. The nuggets till had a considerable amount of quartz in the gold and the finders, anxious to ascertain the true value of their find, decided to have the nuggets smelted. The newspaper quotes ‘... it was at their request that the nugget was at once broken up and smelted.’

The London Chartered Bank had its own facilities for smelting gold into ingots for transporting to Melbourne. Smelting also removes any quartz in the gold as these are run off as slag as the molten metal is poured from the furnace crucible; the resultant ingot being the weight of gold (with a small percentage of silver) the bank is to buy.

To smelt the Welcome Stranger required the pieces to be further broken down to fit into the furnace crucibles and also to physically remove more of the embedded quartz. This total breaking down of the nugget was carried out at the Bank, not at the blacksmiths as is commonly narrated.
The newspaper continues, ‘A sledge hammer and cold chisels were brought in requisition, and several of the latter broken in the attempt to reduce into fragments the "Welcome Stranger". It was found to be as solid as it looked, and as chip after chip and piece after piece was dissevered from it, its appearance was as a well cut Cheshire cheese. At length, after no less than five hours hammering, the monster was pounded up and smelted, the result being 2268 oz l0 dwts 14 grs (70.559k g) of solid gold, exclusive of at least a pound weight, which was given by the delighted finders to their numerous friends who were each anxious to retain a piece of the largest mass of gold the world has yet seen.’

News of the smelted weight of the Welcome Stranger was telegraphed on Wednesday 10 Feb thus defining when it took place.

Mr Jesse, the Bank manager, advanced £9000 to the finders with the final amount pending assay results to determine the amount of silver and other impurities in the ingots. This was to be done in Melbourne.

In the finer breaking down of the various pieces, more gold studded quartz was liberated from the nugget and, although not specifically reported, it is presumed that this was taken by Deason and Oates and hand crushed and panned with the proceeds sold to the bank on Friday l2 Feb as Lots 2 and 3, Fig l. The yield was 33 ozs 14 dwts 6 grs (1.049 kg). The amount of quartz is not recorded but it can be determined that the barren residue quartz from the crushing and the slag (quartz) from the smelting amounted to 6.773k g.

The ingots, in the charge of a Bank clerk, were escorted to a railway station (either Bendigo or Castlemaine) and railed to Melbourne on the midday train on Friday 12 Feb. In Melbourne the ingots were resmelted in three lots, each being assayed, and then poured to make five bars. It is reported that these totalled 2267 ozs 16 dwts with only an additional 7.5 dwts (0.012 kg) of impurities being removed in the resmelt, (although interestingly the difference in the weights computes to l4 dwts 14 grs).

On Friday 19 Feb the local newspaper and several others in the region, reported the results of the assays as supplied by Mr Birkmyre, Government Assayer to the colony paper Argus. Two lots assayed 23 carats 2⅝ grs (98.57% pure) and the third assayed 23 carats 2¾ grs (98.70% pure). Mr Birkmyre reported, ‘The gold of this nugget from the crucible assays I find to be 98.66% pure gold. It contains only 1/75 of alloy, chiefly of silver and iron.’ This high level of purity of the gold in the nugget is in keeping with that of other nuggets of central Victoria.

(The average of these three assays, expressed as a percentage of pure gold (24 carat), is computed to be 98.611%, thus indicating either an error in Birkmyres arithmetic or a typing error in the Argus reporting which has then been carried on by the regional papers as they all quoted the Argus verbatim. A figure of 98.61% is used in this study.)

The gold from the fabulous nugget was thus formed into five bars and forwarded to the Bank of England on the steamship ‘Reigate’ which left Melbourne port on Sunday 21 Feb.

The Welcome Stranger nugget was only seen in its original state by John and Catherine Deason and Richard Oates and the trimmed nugget by a few locals at Bulldog Gully and at Dunolly. No authorities had seen the nugget in any form. The nugget, even in its pieces, was only in existence from the discovery day of Friday to the smelting day of Wednesday the following week, a mere 6 days. It was only another 10 days before it was shipped offshore.

Several newspapers in the days following the discovery lamented that no photograph or casting had been made of the nugget before it was consigned to the melting pot. But the local paper supported the owners decision by saying, ‘.... the finders had an undoubted right to do what they liked with their property without being dictated to by anyone.’

It is interesting to speculate what photographs or casting may have eventuated if the finders were not so impetuous to realise their wealth, or if they had not been persuaded against their intended trip to Melbourne, where most likely it would have been displayed and studied in more detail; but only if it had got past the bushrangers of Black Forest and other places.

Fortunately M r Charles Webber Jnr, jeweller, photographer and artist, sketched the nugget as it lay on the floor of the bank and then photographed it. This is presented on the cover.

Mr Francis Fearn, artist, poet and actor also of Dunolly, made a large sketch of the nugget as he saw it at the bank at the insistence of Mining Warden F Knox Orme. This is presented on the title page.

R Brough Smyth, Secretary for Mines for the Colony of Victoria 1869, quotes that Mr Fearn’s sketch ‘was certified by the discoverers as a fair representation of the nugget found by them’ and of Mr Webber’s sketch, ‘it would appear to represent not incorrectly the outward appearance of the Welcome Stranger’.

Shortly after the smelting down of the nugget, a Mr William Parker was (presumably) commissioned by the finders to take some photographs for posterity. The sketch of the nugget was again photographed this time with the added inscriptions of ‘Welcome Stranger’ and ‘Weight 210 lbs Troy'. Several photographs were taken of a re-enactment with people posing with the nugget; which actually was a large boulder of quartz. One photograph was of John Deason and Richard Oates with shovel and crowbar standing on either side of the boulder with Catherine Deason kneeling behind it, Plate 4, another of similar pose with eleven people lined up on either side of the finders and the third with a line-up of fifteen people.

The negative plates of Webber's photograph of the sketch and of Parker's photograph of the sketch and the smaller group are still in existence and reside in the Victorian State Library.

On 10 October 1872, Francis Fearn offered to make a plaster of paris model of the nugget, coated in gold leaf, for £7-10-0 with additional models offered at £2-10-0 each. Apparently the offer was accepted as there are models on show at various Museums etc. Interestingly these appear to be more akin the Webber's sketch than to his own, possibly as his own perception was too difficult to model. There are several variations in the models in existence but they all show similarity to Webber's photograph. The announcement of the unearthing of the worlds biggest nugget did send a ripple of excitement through the colony. Many newspapers expounded that it was just the impetus that was needed to spur on the gold mining industry. They anticipate the extensive alluvial deposits to be thoroughly worked for more great nuggets which were bound to exist and that the many reef lines would be taken up again and worked to great depths as is the case in some goldfields. In reality, however, it was the entrepreneurs and speculators further a field who took full advantage of the excitement in buying leases on line with the Welcome Stranger (but several kilometres distant) to ‘one ingenious speculator (who) proposed at once to start a company to puddle the whole of Victoria, commencing at the seaboard and working inland.’

Comment: this publication contains much more information on the weight and character of the Welcome Stranger nugget.

Romancing the nugget, Anthony Black, Sunday Herald Sun, 5 Mar 2000:
The `Golden Triangle'-covering Bendigo, Ballarat and Stawell -produced 90 per cent of all gold nuggets exceeding 500 ounces found in the world, including the Welcome Stranger, located at Moliagul in 1869 weighing 2315 ounces; and the Welcome Nugget, discovered at Ballarat in 1858 weighing 2247 ounces
The Welcome Stranger nugget is the stuff of legend, a find that still tantalises fossickers 130 years after its unearthing.
But it is a legend undersold in a country always keen to improve on a tale.
History records that John Deason and Richard Oates uncovered the nugget, which weighed 2315 Troy ounces, at Moliagul in central Victoria on February 5, 1869.
But Terry Potter has fossicked the pages of, history to discover the nugget was actually 3523 ounces.
In his book, The Welcome Stranger, the geologist and author calls into question more than the weight of the nugget.
Mr Potter said the nugget was swamped by myths, contradictions and folklore.
This was because only a handful of people saw the 53 cm by 25 cm nugget before it was melted down and shipped to England 16 days after the find.
Mr Potter said the myths were fuelled in the absence of detailed written accounts. It was not until 30 years after the find that a monument commemorating the nugget was erected at Moliagul.
He said his research found the Welcome Stranger was not weighed as a single nugget. The gross weight of the Welcome Stranger was about 40 per cent more because almost 1200 ounces of gold-bearing quartz was trimmed off before it was officially weighed.
The nugget minus the quartz left a nett weight. But not all the gold was weighed. It was broken into several pieces and some were kept by finders. They gave some pieces to friends as souvenirs.
Mr Potter said many gross and nett weights had been recorded for the nugget. The most common gross weight was 2520 ounces and the most common nett weight 2275 ounces. His research showed the gross weight was 3523 ounces and the nett weight was 2315 ounces.
The 53-year-old said Deason and Oates, originally from Cornwall, England, were paid £9381 for the nugget, equivalent to each receiving 43 years' wages.
Even as pieces, the nugget lasted only six days and was shipped as five ingots. Mr Potter, of Bendigo, claims there are also many inaccuracies about how the Welcome Stranger was discovered.
It was not found after a cart wheel sank deep in the mud, revealing the nugget. Nor was it found, when Deason and Oaten were sweeping around their tent.
It, was discovered after Deason drove a pick into the clay and hit what he thought was stone 5 cm below- the surface. He delivered a second and third blow. Brushing the ground aside, he saw gold.
He said the nugget was discovered between 9 am and 10 am and not 5 pm.
Mr Potter said the nugget was immediately loaded on to a dray and taken to Deason's hut. He dismissed accounts that it was buried and taken home after dark.
Discovered on a Friday, the nugget was hidden under a fireplace hearth over the weekend.
Deason and Oates had known each other in Cornwall, discounting other legends that they had met at Moliagul or became mates on the way to Australia.
Mr Potter said the finders contributed to the nugget's mystique by keeping their discovery quiet. "There were a lot of bushrangers around at the time and they didn't want to arouse any attention," he said.
"It is clear that they did not intend to revel in the glory of possessing a world record, or even a monster nugget. The finer details and the personal side of the discovery, it seems, were to be kept secret by the two finders."
Mr Potter said Deason and Oates toiled for seven years on a mining lease at Bulldog Gully before striking it rich.
After the discovery, Oates left for Cornwall, only to return to Dunolly in central Victoria with his wife, Jane. He became a farmer and raised four children before moving away from the area. He died in 1906 aged 75.
Deason never lost his zest for looking for gold. He died at 85 in 1915. He and his second wife, Catherine, had 11 children. One died in infancy.
Golden welcome, Kim Mawson, (unidentified newspaper), probably 2000:
Gold was first discovered in Australia near Bathurst, in NSW, in May, 1851.
Several months later more gold was discovered in central Victoria.
This discovery led to a huge goldrush, with diggers from all over the world in search of fortune.
Bendigo-based geologist Terry F. Potter has compiled The Welcome Stranger, an account of the discovery of the world's largest alluvial gold nugget.
The Welcome Stranger was found at 9.10 am on Friday, February 5, 1869, at Moliagul, 60 km west of Bendigo.
Diggers John Deason and Richard Oates had been working the area for some time in the hope of finding gold, but no doubt would never have dreamed of such a discovery.
And, of course, gold diggers like anglers, seem to add to or slightly alter the stories relating to their find.
One reason for the production of the book, according to the author, is the "perpetuation of myths, rhetoric and embellishments surrounding the nugget".
"Another reason for the book is to put some professional geology into its discovery and description."
Terry Potter is a graduate in geology of the School of Mines, Ballarat (1968), and worked as an exploration and mine geologist for 16 years in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania.
In 1996, Terry set up his own consultancy business, Pottergold, which has the motto of leaving no stone unturned in the quest for fair dinkum, rock solid, down-to-earth geology.
After publishing several technical papers on gold deposits and mineralisation in Victoria, Terry set about clearing up the information about the world's largest alluvial gold nugget.
The book gives a detailed account of the plethora of myths about the nugget, including the various weights and descriptions of it.
"As a child I was brought up believing it (the Welcome Stranger) was chopped in half with an axe to be weighed," Terry said of his interest in the stories surrounding the nugget.
"How untrue these have turned out to be."
In his book, Terry discovered how the nugget was concealed on its way to the Bank of Dunolly and for how long the nugget was actually in existence.
It took five hours to break down the 109.6 kilogram nugget, breaking five chisels, before it was smelted.
At the time the finders would have received about £9500, which would have equated to about 43 years of wages for the pair.
Using the 1999 price of gold at $450 per ounce, the Welcome Stranger's value would be $1.03 million.
It's understandable that so many stories were generated after the nugget was found.
The discovery made Bendigo and surrounding towns the focus of the world.
The rich history of the area is fascinating and although The Welcome Stranger has some interesting facts, the book can be a little cumbersome to read.
Yet when you think about the nugget's size and worth and what eventually happened to it, the story is intriguing.
While the gold fever of late last century has never been repeated here, one can but imagine the life of the diggers and the towns created by gold's discovery. The book is available from bookshops in Bendigo, Castlemaine, Ballarat and Maryborough, for $12. The book's cover photograph of the Welcome Stranger, which is in the La Trobe Collection at the State Library of Victoria, is the only image of the nugget.

The Real Welcome Stranger Story, Katherine Knight, published in Gold Net Australia, April 2000:
When John Deason and Richard Oates discovered the largest nugget ever to be unearthed on the globe, few records or notes were made of this momentous occasion. In fact within a few days of the discovery the world's largest nugget had been broken up, melted down and loaded aboard ship en route to England.

To place the discovery of such a large nugget in perspective, one needs to have an understanding of the great wealth that came from the Victorian Gold Fields at this time in history. During the great gold rushes of the 1850's and 1860's the recorded takings of gold were over 1,100 tons, and it could be concluded that a similar weight was taken and never declared. Consequently during this golden era about 2,000 tons of gold was recovered mainly from alluvial diggings. The finding of large nuggets was not unusual, and in fact was expected.

Official records show that over 1,300 nuggets of 20 ounces or more were taken from Victorian gold fields. Of these, 400 exceeded 100 ounces. It could be realistically assumed that at least double this number is the true value. Even today one hears of large nuggets being found, but very few if any are declared publicly. Consequently the finding of large nuggets at that time was an expected part of life on the diggings. Clearly there were great celebrations and rejoicing when a large nugget was found, and the "Welcome Stranger" nugget was no exception.

Deason aged 32, and Oates aged 35, were Cornishmen when they arrived in the Moliagul area in 1862. Moliagul is today but a dot on a map with an old hotel and a few old buildings that undoubtedly date back to the last century. In early 1853 this area was first rushed, and about 500 people were living here in tents at that time. Other nearby rushes depleted the field, but some die-hards were making a living from this patch and remained.

Eventually the Moliagul gold field at Bull-dog Gully was being worked by a few souls including Deason and Oates. The gold field in toto was about one mile wide by about 3 miles long, and incorporated a number of reefs. Right through this area from south to north there are gold bearing reefs that today still produces good quantities of gold.

Both diggers were obviously tenacious in their endeavours as their persistence shows, in remaining in this area as long as they did, working near the Black Reef in this area. Interspersed with their diggings they farmed a nearby area, and built more permanent brick and timber dwellings, as did others who were also working the ground for gold. It was here that children were born and gold was in sufficient quantities to keep the residents relatively comfortable, if not rich.

Claims at this time were worked under the tenure of a "Puddlers Claim," an area of 100 square feet per person. Deason, his wife and Oates would have claimed these workings, but 300 square feet over several years working here seem to be somewhat impracticable, and it appears probable that the two men worked other diggings and joined other nearby rushes from time to time. Undoubtedly they were part time diggers, working the ground when they could when sufficient water was available and tending to farming duties at other times.

On Friday 5th February 1869, John Deason was working around the roots of a stringy bark tree, about 80 yards from his house. Thunder storms had partly filled the puddler dams so it was possible to wash dirt. Striking the ground with his pick it hit a hard object and striking again and again nearby it again struck a large object. Deason considered this strange, as there were no boulders on this side of the hill. On closer inspection as he kneeled down the glint of gold was seen as he brushed away the dirt with his hands. It was clearly a huge clump of gold and trying to prise it out of the ground with his pick he broke the handle. With a crowbar he levered it to the surface. By this time Oates had been summoned, and together they estimated the worth of such a large piece of gold. Their best estimates were about half what the "Welcome Stranger" was really worth.

The nugget was attached to quartz, which was itself gold studded throughout. It measured 21" long and 10" thick. Ironically many diggers had walked over and camped on the exact spot. Reputedly one digger had shifted his tent because he could not get the stakes into the ground in one corner.

After taking the nugget into Deason's hut it was placed in the fire to break the black quartz away from the gold itself. It was fired all that day and throughout the next night, heating and cooling the nugget breaking the quartz away. It was essential to keep the find a secret over the weekend, as banks were closed and bushrangers common. It is postulated that a hole was dug under the hearth and the nugget placed inside and covered with the fire kept burning all weekend.

On Monday morning the 72 lbs. of black quartz that was broken away from the main nugget was taken to be treated at a local stamper, owned by Edward Endey. 60 ounces of gold was obtained from this crushing. Early on Tuesday morning the "Welcome Stranger" was loaded aboard Mr. Endey's cart and hidden under Mrs Deasons skirt as both diggers along with a good supply of friends rode into Dunolly, about 9 miles away with the nugget.

Although advised to take the nugget direct to Melbourne, the owners thought it safer to deliver it to a bank in Dunolly as soon as possible to avoid the bushrangers. At the first attempt to negotiate with the bank manager, Deason asked to be paid by the hundredweight, and upon obtaining a price per ounce from the manager, again asked for a hundredweight price, claiming to have gold in that quantity. He was shown the door and accused by the manager of being drunk.

Returning a short time later he laid out his hundred weights of gold on the floor of the bank, much to the dismay of the bank manager.

The nugget was too large to weigh on the banks scales, and the nugget was taken in a wheel barrow to Archie Wall's blacksmith shop where it was cut into more manageable pieces. The total weight amounted to 210 lbs. Troy. Further breaking up was carried out in the bank and after five hours was eventually smelted down. The total weight sold to the bank was 2,268 oz 10 dwts 14 grs. The finders keeping small portions of gold for their friends.

Mr Jesse, the bank manager advanced a cheque for 9,000 pounds, being at the agreed upon rate of 4 pounds 1 shilling and 6 pence an ounce for the gold. A further 436 pounds was later paid for gold that was essentially residue from the large nugget still encased in quartz. The total gold weight of the nugget was 2,315 ounces 17 dwts 14 grs. Note: (dwts = pennyweights - grs= grains). The nugget was assayed at 98.61% pure.

Within a few days the melted down gold in ingots was conveyed to Melbourne was forwarded to the bank of England on the steamship "Reigate" leaving harbour on Sunday 21st February.

Amazingly both Deason and Oates returned to their diggings and continued in their normal occupations as though nothing out of the ordinary had occurred in their lives. Deason continued with gold mining and workings most of his life and although becoming a store keeper at Moliagul, his interest in gold remained, and good quantities of his fortune were invested in not so sensible gold investments, with the bulk of his wealth being lost. He bought a small farm near Moliagul and spent his last days here, passing from this life on 13th September 1915, aged 85 yrs.

After the find Oates returned to England and there married Jane Penrose. They returned to Australia where four children were born of the union. The Oates family purchased 800 acres of land in 1895 about 15 miles west of Bendigo, and here Richard Oates lived his life farming the land until be died on 29th October 1906 aged 75 yrs.

On the following morning the two lucky diggers took the huge nugget to Dunolly, in a dray, which was followed by a number of their neighbours, who had heard of the find. Arrived at the township, Deason and Oates deposited their treasure on the floor of the bank manager’s room. It was weighed and found to contain nearly two hundredweights of pure gold, thus putting in the shade the “Welcome” nugget found at Ballarat. It has recently been stated that the total weight of gold in the “Stranger” was 2305 ounces.

The “Welcome Stranger” was sold to the bank, after its finders had chopped off some small pieces (total weight about 10 ounces) as souvenirs for their special friends. Deason and his mate, after dividing nearly £10,000, decided to give up nugget hunting. They parted, only to meet in Dunolly a few years later. Deason’s ventures had failed, and he was again a poor man. Oates, however, was prosperous, having invested his money in mining shares which turned out trumps, the various companies paying good dividends.

A golden moment for two Scilly lads, John Wright, published in Western Morning News (English newspaper), 1 November 2005):
How would it feel to unearth a gold nugget that's so big your pick handle breaks? The man who knows did exactly that in 1869 in the bush land of Australia's central Victoria, ten years after Ned Kelly's gang roamed the area and 16 years after the gold rush had already plundered it. Today the nugget is still the biggest ever found anywhere in the world.

John Deason, the man who had to prise it from roots of a stringybark gum tree, may not have been far from quitting after eight years of back-breaking work on the Bendigo diggings and another seven in the bush land with his partner, Richard Oates. They were both Scillonians.

They were also men of honour. John's great-grandson, Dick Deason, 75, says that even though his ancestor "was puddling in a bit of a gully and Oates was ploughing in a nearby paddock" there was no doubt that they would be sharing the loot.

It was named The Welcome Stranger nugget and probably weighed as much as the finder himself. It was 63.5 kg (2,240 oz), its overall dimensions being 45 cm (18 in) by 40 cm (16 in) by 40 cm (16 in). It was a piece of solid gold roughly the size of a full rucksack. Too big to fit on the scales at the Dunolly Bank 15 km away, it was cut by the local blacksmith on an anvil before it could be weighed.

"John and his family were short of money before the discovery, although he had found a 36 oz nugget in 1866, which kept them going a bit longer," Dick Deacon told me.

More gold nuggets have been found in the Dunolly area than anywhere else in Australia. Today the Goldfields & Arts Museum in Dunolly has a replica of The Welcome Stranger, as well as 70 other nuggets found in the area. But the goldfields were no place for the faint-hearted. A storekeeper there in the 1850s, seeing a hand creeping under his tent one night, cut it off and the next day nailed it to his counter beside a sign reading "Hands off."

John Deason and Richard Oates grew up together on the island of Tresco. Three years younger than Richard, John was born there in 1830. He moved to the mainland and became a tin dresser at Trewellard near St just, when he met and married his first wife Margaret Davey in 1851, just as the gold rush to Australia began. Two years later, with Richard in tow, the couple sailed for Australia.

It was true that some of the first diggers in Australia picked up gold nuggets from the ground, and that many more would spend years digging in the hot sun to find very little. These two had no idea that their own 15 years of steady work would finally bring them the greatest jackpot of all.

After four of their first fruitless years at the Bendigo diggings, Margaret died, leaving John with a baby and a three-year-old; five months later he married Catherine McAndrew. The fateful morning came 11 long years later when John said goodbye to his family, including the first six of the 11 children they would eventually have, and set off to work on their hillside "puddling claim".

Dick Deason said: "Puddling involved forming a big circle on the ground with split slabs and putting a horse to walk around it.

"Water was then poured into the circle and this would allow the ground to be smashed by the ground with its hooves. The slush was put into a cradle and rinsed through. The heaviest material, the gold, was left."

And this is how John Deason himself described his discovery: "It was between 9 am and l0 am. I put the pick in the ground and felt what I thought was stone. I scraped the ground.

"After the pick-axe broke, I then got a crowbar and raised the nugget to the surface. At first, there was much quartz with the gold. I sent my son down to call Richard and when my mate came we got the dray and carted it down to my hut and put it in the fireplace. We built a good fire and kept it burning for about ten hours. We sat up all night breaking it free from the quartz. The bank paid us £9,563 pounds for it."

Words probably wouldn't do justice to how the three of them must have felt that night. But would the discovery change anything? Catherine and John, like so many others, had carved out a settled life for their family in the bush and had watched their children grow in this new world. Dick Deason told me that Richard Oates promptly sailed back to Cornwall, where he married Jane Penrose and returned to the goldfields.

"He moved away from the area and was careful with his money, whereas John stayed in the area and put his money back into mining. He lent a lot to other diggers and never got it back."

The kind-hearted local hero's life seemed not to change much at all.

John bought a property and built a house 2 km from Moliagul. The separate stone kitchen with flagstone floor he built is still there. He was 85 when he died in 1915, Richard living to 79.

Today the Deasons are still there, farming and looking for gold. The biggest nugget Dick has found so far weighed three ounces.

"In the last 20 years there's been a bit of a gold rush again because a company has been developing metal detectors. One detects only gold and to a depth of a metre. It costs about £2,000."

Despite the Deasons losing touch with the Oates, a 100th anniversary of the discovery get-together was held anyway in 1969.

"On the first morning of the centenary weekend, I saw a bloke across the other side of the room who I didn't know," said Mr Deason. "So I introduced myself. It was Dick Oates, the great-grandson of Richard Oates. I couldn't believe it. It was as if the two original mates were together again."

One century before, a few days after the discovery, Launceston Argus reporters arrived to interview the two men.

"At the time of our visit," they noted, "Deason and his mate were working away in their shirt sleeves at the claim, as if nothing had happened out of the ordinary."

They were Cornishmen - what did they expect?

APPENDICES

Welcome Stranger memorials:

Three important monuments commemorate the finding of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget:

- Moliagul, Victoria, Australia. In 2008, Rick Smith wrote:

Welcome Stranger Nugget Discovery Site Marker, Moliagul
Location: about 2 km southeast of Moliagul in a clearing in the forest, accessible by a marked track from the township.

Description: two-tier granite obelisk on a stone base in a railed enclosure, erected in 1897, with the inscription: "Welcome Stranger Nugget. In this locality the largest nugget in the world was discovered on the 5th February 1869 by John Deason and Richard Oates. Weight 2332 oz, value £9534. Unveiled on 19th November 1897 by Henry Foster, Minister for Mines & D. J. Duggan, MLA, Member for Dunolly". The official weight was recorded as 2284 oz 16 dwts 22 gr.

- Dunolly Victoria, Australia. In 2008, Rick Smith wrote:

Welcome Stranger Anvil Memorial, Dunolly
Location: in front of the Dunolly Historical Museum, Main Street, Dunolly.

Description: tall quartzite stone cairn with circular relief of a crossed pick and shovel, with an anvil set on top with a marble tablet with the inscription: "The world's largest nugget [of gold] (2332 ozs) 'The Welcome Stranger' was cut up on this anvil on the 9th April 1869. Erected by John A. Flett (Curator) January 1968". A replica of the nugget is now held in a glass case in the Museum.

- Redruth, Cornwall, England. In 2003, Michael Kiernan wrote:

Welcome Stranger Memorial, Redruth, Cornwall
The statue, unveiled in August, 2001, celebrates the discovery, on 5th February 1869, of the largest nugget of gold ever discovered, weighing 2520 oz., then valued at £10,000. The statue is more than 15 ft (4.5 metres) and shows the two men digging the nugget from the ground. It was made by Nigel Eden, an engineer from Mount Hawke. It is situated in the car park of a private Company – Cornish Goldsmiths on the Redruth to Portreath road adjacent to the Tolgus Tin Works (also owned by that company but operated as an industrial heritage site by The Trevithick Trust). Richard Oates was from St Just in Penwith and John Deason was believed to be from the Camborne area. The two men had been prospecting north west of Melbourne for seven years before they made the discovery near Dunolly, Victoria.

The Welcome Stranger plaque wording from the statue reads:
The Welcome Stranger Nugget. In 1869 two Cornishmen, JOHN DEASON and RICHARD OATS, were prospecting for gold in Australia when they found the largest gold nugget ever discovered. It was buried beneath the roots of a tree in a bed of red clay. The Welcome Nugget' had to be broken on an anvil before it could be weighed by the nearest bank. It weighed an incredible 7.1 Kg.! Today it would be worth over £1,000,000. This statue was specially commissioned by Cornish Goldsmiths as a celebration of the discovery of the Welcome Stranger Nugget. August 9th 2001. Sculptor NIGEL EDEN.
APPENDICES

Welcome Stranger discovery site – today:

Various brochures and website material has been prepared giving details of the site along with the township of Moliagul a short distance away. Detailed below are some of these:

FairfaxDigital (website) – 5 May 2008:

Moliagul
Tiny and historically significant gold mining town
Moliagul is a tiny old goldmining village that is now, to all intents and purposes, a ghost town. It is located at one corner of a district known as the Golden Triangle which has produced more gold nuggets than any other in Australia (the other corners are formed by Tarnagulla and Dunolly).

Moliagul is 202 km north-west of Melbourne via Marong and 193 km via Dunolly (a more complicated route) which is 15 km to the south-east. The town's name is thought to derive from the Aboriginal word 'moliagulk' meaning 'wooded hill'.

Although there are very few houses in Moliagul itself, about 200 people are scattered about in the bush. The Mt Moliagul Hotel offers budget accommodation and meals.

Gold was first found at Moliagul in late 1852 (in Queen's Gully). By January 1853 there was a store, blacksmith's and butcher's shop but the Sandy Creek rush saw the nascent settlement deserted. A new rush unfolded in the Moliagul area when gold was found at Little Hill in July 1855 and it is estimated there were soon about 16000 people in the area. The Mt Moliagul Hotel was established in 1856.

However, Moliagul would barely rate a mention in the annals of history were it not for an event which unfolded on February 5, 1869. On that day, Cornish miner John Deason, who had been prospecting hereabouts for seven years, was working in Bulldog Gully, near Moliagul. While searching about the roots of a tree he discovered, 3 cm below the surface, a gold nugget. He concealed his find until dark. Then with his partner, Richard Oates, he dug it out and snuck it home in a wagon. The two then held a party, during which they revealed their find to the assembled guests. The 66-kg 'Welcome Stranger', then the world's largest-known gold nugget, was taken to Dunolly where it had to be broken on an anvil (located in the Goldfields Historical and Arts Museum) before it could fit on the bank's scales. It was worth 10000 pounds at the time ($3-4 million in today's money). Deason returned to Moliagul and his descendants are still in the area. Oates went back to Cornwall for a while but returned to live out his life at Dunolly.

The Reverend John Flynn, who founded the legendary Flying Doctor Service, was born here in 1880.

Things to see:
John Flynn Memorial
There is a memorial by the intersection of Bealiba and Murray Sts which is dedicated to the Reverend John Flynn, the founder of the Flying Doctor Service, who was born here in 1880. Nearby is an old brick building, opposite the public hall, which is reputedly the site where John Deason, one of the finders of the 'Welcome Stranger', died. Around the comer is the Mt Moliagul Hotel, established in 1856 and currently vacant.

School and Church
At the corner of Graham St and High St are the Moliagul State School (1872) and the Anglican Church, built of stone and brick in 1864-65.

Moliagul Historic Reserve
2 km south-west of town (the route is signposted from Moliagul's main street) is a granite obelisk which was placed here in 1897 by the Mines Department. It marks the site the 66-kg 'Welcome Stranger' gold nugget was found on February 5, 1869 (see the introduction to Moliagul for a fuller account of the event).

The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk starts from the obelisk and explores the reserve which has a picnic area, shelters, barbecues and drinking water. It was behind the picnic table near the start of the track that John Deason had a small two-roomed shack. It was to this shack that he first transported the nugget, placing it in the fire to burn off the debris. A little further on is the puddler where Deason and Oates treated the wash from their claim. A puddler was a watertight circular trench that was filled with water. Dirt from the claim was then added and a horse walked in a circle dragging chains or harrows around the trench to break up the dirt and dissolve the clay. The sludge was drained off and the remaining rocks removed and put through a cradle to glean the gold. The proximity to the house was to deter theft from the puddler.

The pile of stones further on are all that remain of Richard Oates’ house. He was working in the paddock here when Deason called him to see the nugget. At that time there were a number of Chinese and European miners about, as well as market gardens and two dairies.

Further on is a wooden headstone on the fenceline which dates from the 1860s. It is thought to mark a Chinese grave.

Stones from fireplaces and raised dirt floors are all that remain of the Chinese camp from the 1860s. Like most such camps it was at a remove from the remainder of the settlement due to the hostility of the other miners.

The walk continues past an old puddling machine and the remnants of a once robust forest which provided shelter for kangaroos and emus before being chopped down by the miners.

It then crosses Black Gully, so named because the gold here tended to be stained with black ironstone.
The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk, (Welcome Stranger Monument trail guide) – March 1990:

The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk is situated in the Moliagul Historic Reserve, 2 km south-west of Moliagul and 60 km west of Bendigo. The surrounding forest contains numerous examples of former alluvial and reef mining.

The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk is a leisurely walk of 15-20 minutes commencing among some red stringybark trees named from the fibrous nature of their bark.

The ‘Welcome Stranger’ nugget, the largest ever recorded in the world was found beside a stringybark tree. A root from the tree had grown over the nugget and right through a small hole in the gold. Walking down the track you pass a few large ironbark trees. These have a dark, very thick, and deeply fissured bark.

Around here you can see the yellow flowers of rough wattle and orange flowers of gorse bitter pea.

These, along with orchids, are best seen from August to October.

Map details 10 sites on trail:

1. The side of the hill has been mined by surfacing. About 30 cm of topsoil and gravel resting on red clay has been removed by the miners and washed for gold.
2. Behind, here near the picnic table, was once the house of John Deason and family. It was a small two roomed dwelling with a large wooden table and a fireplace at one end. The ‘Welcome Stranger’ was brought in here and placed in the fire to burn off the debris.
3. This is the puddler where Deason and Oates were treating the wash from their surfacing claim. A puddler was a watertight circular trench with timber walls and base. It was filled with water from the dam and the dirt was added. A horse walking around the perimeter dragged a series of chains or harrows which broke up the wash-dirt and dissolved the clay. The resulting sludge was then drained away. When only clean stones remained they were removed and put through a cradle to separate the gold. Puddlers did not recycle water, so as the dam dried up the miners had to cease operations. Since a puddler was often cleaned up only once a fortnight, Deason built his house nearby as a deterrent to thieves.
4. The pile of stones in the cleared private land nearby are all that remain of Richard Oates’ house. He was busy cultivating this paddock when Deason called him up to show him the nugget. This area was then populated with a number of European and Chinese miners and they were two dairies and a market garden, all, within sight of here.
5. The wooden headstone right on the fenceline dates from the 1960s. Although the inscription is no longer legible it is reputed to be a Chinese grave.
6. Piles of stones from fireplaces, raised dirt floors and a narrow laneway between are the only remnants of a Chinese camp. It dates from the 1860s. Chinese were not always welcome on the goldfields so often lived in camps away from all other nationalities.
7. This is a good example of a former puddling machine.
8. This forest was once full of magnificent large trees which were cut down for the miners’ needs. The trees formed a canopy under which, in the open grassland, kangaroos and emus were plentiful.
9. Although this tree has been cut down like many others in this forest, the stump has survived and sprouted new trunks. This is known as coppice growth. Red box trees have rounded leaves, unlike the grey box trees across the gully, which have long elongated shiny leaves.
10. After the first gold discovery in September 1852 at the bottom of this gully, the miners gradually traced upstream to here. This was called Black Gully because the gold was often stained with black ironstone.

The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk, (Welcome Stranger Monument trail guide) – as current 2006:

The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk is situated in the Moliagul Historic Reserve, 2 km south-west of Moliagul and 60 km west of Bendigo. The surrounding forest contains numerous examples of former alluvial and reef mining.

Map details 10 sites on trail:

1. Examples of surface mining.
2. Site of John Deason’s two-roomed house.
3. Site of John Deason and Oates’ Puddler. Deason built his house nearby as a deterrent to would-be thieves.
4. Site of Oates’ house.
5. This wooden headstone dates from the 1860’s. It is reputed to be a Chinese grave.
6. Chinese camp.
7. A former puddling machine.
8. This forest was cut down to fill the miners’ needs.
9. Examples of new growth (coppice). Red and grey box trees.
10. Black Gully. Miners worked upstream to here.

Pamphlet continues with details of local history:

Gold at Moliagul
The first recorded discovery of gold in this district was made about a kilometre from here in September 1852. This discovery created a rush in the area, and a Police Camp was established to keep law and order among the 4000 miners.

Gold gradually became more difficult to find, and many miners left for more popular goldfields, though some with more substantial claims remained. Among these were two Cornish miners, John Deacon and Richard Oates.

Both Deason and Oates were born on the island of Tresco, 50 km south-west of Lands End, England. The two grew up together, and after learning of the discovery of gold in Australia, arrived in Bendigo in February 1854. They spent eight years there with only moderate success, and then moved to Moliagul.

Deason and Oates pegged a puddling claim on the side of this hill; they were aware of large nuggets having been found in the gully below (known as Black Gully).

They also selected farming land near this site which they continued to farm while stripping the surface layer of the paddling claim and washing it in a puddling machine.

In 1866 the pair found a 1.1 kg (36 oz) nugget, which encouraged them to continue with their efforts. As history shows, their persistence paid of with the discovery of the "Welcome Stranger", still the largest nugget ever found in the world.

The Discovery of The Welcome Stranger
On the morning of Friday 5 February 1869, Deason was breaking up soil on the claim when he hit what seemed to he stone. After hitting it a second and third time and clearing away the soil with a pick he saw gold. The nugget was only 2.5 cm (1 inch) below the surface; after clearing away more dirt Deason broke his pick handle in an attempt to lever it from the ground. He finally resorted to a crowbar.

Oates, busy ploughing in his nearby paddock, was oiled up by Deason's son. Not wanting to create suspicion among people living and working nearby, the two miners covered the nugget again and continued as if nothing had happened

Later that afternoon the nugget was placed in their dray and taken down the hill to the Deason house. The gold was stained black by ironstone deposits and was mixed with a large quantity of quartz. After placing the nugget in the fire, the gold expanded and the quartz became brittle and loose. When the nugget cooled 26 kg of quartz was prised off and later gushed in a tool battery, belonging to a Mr Edward Endey [sic – should read Eudey].

Revealing The Find
After keeping the discovery to themselves all weekend, Deason and Oates decided to hold a party for their friends on the following Monday. They hid the nugget under a cloth at the end of the table, and at an appropriate moment during the evening revealed their magnificent prize. "Don't go home boys" said Deason, "That’s solid gold and I want you to stay the night and escort it to the bank at Dunolly tomorrow”.

Next morning, the nugget was loaded onto Edward Endey's [sic] spring cart and the convoy left for Dunolly. Walter Brown, a neighbour, was selected to go into the London Chartered Bank and ask the teller "What are you paying for gold by the hundredweight?", after which the nugget was brought in and presented to the manager.

Weighing & Recording The Nugget
As the nugget was too large to be weighed on the bank scales, Archie Walls, the blacksmith was called in to cut it into smaller pieces. The total weight of the nugget, including what was obtained from the crushed quartz and other pieces broken off and given away to friends, was estimated at 72.5 kg (2332 oz). It was considered a shame that in all the excitement no-one thought to photograph the nugget, and the only sketches made were drawn from memory. The photograph shown here was taken at the site later, the finders using a large piece of quartz to represent the nugget.

Life after The Find
Soon after the find, Richard Oates returned to Cornwall, where he married Jane Penrose. He wasted little time in bringing her back to Moliagul and continued working the claim with Deason. By 1875 it had been worked out and Oates moved with his family to Dunolly. He continued farming, shifting a second time to land in Bealiba then later to Woodstock near Bendigo. Richard Oates died in 1906 aged 79, and is buried in the Marong Cemetery.

John Deason continued with mining, having various puddling machines and later a quartz crushing battery. During the depression of the 1890s, part of his livelihood came from operating the battery in Moliagul, thus providing great stimulus and encouragement for other miners to sample reefs in the area instead of merely seeking alluvial gold. He invested money in further property, known as The Springs, at Moliagul, and he and his family moved there. His descendants still farm land in Moliagul today. John Deason died in 1915 aged 85 and is buried in the Moliagul Cemetery.
APPENDICES

John & Catherine Deason’s later life (including other mining ventures and farming):

Untitled report regarding John Deason’s new battery, Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 19 May 1896
:

A Moliagul correspondent reports a great revival in quartz mining there. Mr Deason's new battery was started last Thursday, on stone from Mr. Liddell's claim on Waymans Hill. Mr Deason gets credit for his unaided enterprise in affording facilities for the development of the mining resources of the place.


The Finding of the Welcome Stranger – a Historical Nugget, Dunolly, Thursday, 6 August 1896
(probably an extract from a newspaper article of that date) publisher unknown, includes information on John Deason’s life after the finding of the Welcome Stranger:

Mr J Deason with his home being at Moliagul, not on the old place [Little Bulldog Gulley], but at the ‘spring’ on the other side of town one of the prettiest spots in the district. Sheltered by the rugged hills from the frosts, they have a nice orange grove that needs no artificial protection and which is now in full bearing. Their family – now grown up & married are now holding good positions are widely scattered, some in our own colony, some in the west. One Mr J H Deason – has made a home for himself & remained in Moliagul. ………… Mr J Deason has recently added a crushing plant to his ingeniously arranged steam puddler, and is known and widely respected as one of the best prospectors in the district. Were there more like him we would soon have an unmistakable and permanent mining revival. Even before the finding of the “Welcome Stranger” Moliagul had turned out some good nuggets, and several have been found since. The principle ones are –
1857 – 81 ounces, in Nugget Gully
1860 – 25 ounces in Spark’s Gully
1860 – 24 ounces in Sparks’ Gully
1860 – 32 ounces in Bigg’s Gully
1860 – 30 ounces in Bigg’s Gully
1860 – 120 ounces in Surface Gully
1860 – 33 ounces in Bigg’s Gully
1860 – 61 ounces in Bigg’s Gully
1859 – 440 ounces in Spark’s Gully
1859 – 28 ounces in Spark’s Gully
Two others of 32 ounces and 45 ounces – the exact location is unknown.

Not thirty yards away from the spot where the Welcome Stranger was found (and but a chain separating them) are two reefs – the Black Reef and the Little Bulldog Reef – which have never been worked more than 80 feet. These two reefs, which will apparently come together at a lower level, are on the Queen’s Birthday line, and have not been touched for over 30 years. The reef which produced the “Welcome Stranger” should surely be worth trying. A little further ahead too, is the Wayman reef, which has crushed up to 50 ounces to the ton.

It is depressing to think that we have in our midst such possibilities of wealth lying neglected and unknown.
Correspondence from John Edward Deason to his son, George, 22 February 1938:
Note: this letter is edited to detail only information relating to John & Catherine Deason. For full transcript refer entry Family History entry for John Edward Deason.

51 King St
Boulder
Jan 26 [19]38
Dear George,
….
Your G. Father shortly after finding the Welcome Stranger Nuggett [sic] purchased a ten head Battery & was crushing for the public & at the same time was interested in a mine close to where he found the nuggett [sic] which had the largest winding engine in the district & four out of your five uncles got experience in running & minor repairs of same, I was too young then but I remember both engines & machinery was always a magnet to me, never tire of looking at, or studying it prior to the purchase of this Battery Etc. G. Dad thro the persuasion of G. Ma bought the Homestead & farm & orchard known as the springs & that name it still carries to this day & I’ve seen it marked on some atlas we used at school. Thro the value of this property, G. Dad was able to raise a lot of money to go further into mining & that move plunged us all into a heavy mortgage, which hung till a year or two before G.D. died which occurred in 1915. This liability Co he was mixed up with was formed in Ballarat, shareholders gradually slipped out & left John Deason Senr to foot the Bills, he had no education but his money was sought after by these mining sharks. The family struggled for years to pay the heavy interest 8%, having our own horses, cattle & sheep, we were enabled to take fairly large contracts in road making, bridge building and three large reservoirs for different districts & one of them the finest sheet of clear water & best holding bank, was made with plough and scoops, with changes of horses & they with their continual, tramping & sliding of scoops made a bank that never showed a sign of leak, the other two with a clay bank in centre both leaked & they had civil engineers in attendance to see the work was carried out according to specification, it was a brain wave of U. Harry to build the bank with horses & scoops, about 54 years ago. Now these contracts were getting fewer & the shearing, ploughing & harvesting could not keep all the family going, so they moved to different mining fields in Victoria. Harry bought a farm of his own & his widow still owns it & their only son a returned soldier took up land near by & appeared to me (the last time I saw the old place) to be comfortable & rearing a small family.

Later years the farm was let for a term & Father & Mother with U. Jim & myself shifted to Melb. Footscray. Dad drove the wagonette & us lads the big dray we did the 130 miles in reasonable time. Jim went to work with a Blacksmith & myself to the Braybrook implement Co, now the Sunshine Harvester Co, the work proved too hot & hard for me, I was offered more money to stop, eventually I applied for a position in Ascot Vale with a General Merchant & it was there I got a bit of grounding in business affairs, I was there for 3 years a slackening of hands took place, it was either me or a married man had to go, so off I went to Bendigo & I may say at this stage the letting of the farm was not a success & Dad & Mother went back to Moliagul so as soon as I was out of work I off for the mining fields where I had two Brothers working.

Trusting to hear from you soon.
& with love from us all
Your affect Dad

‘The Springs’, History – prepared by Ron Carless, 1969:

VISIT TO “THE SPRINGS” MOLIAGUL

by courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Shay

in conjunction with the Welcome Stronger Centenary Committee

"The Springs", 1¼ miles east of Moliagul township, were referred to in writings as early as 1853.

Hugh Fraser was one of the early settlers there.

In 1859, his wife established a boarding school for young ladies in her home at "The Springs".

In 1861, the area was described as a beautiful and healthy position”.

Henry Niothec had a vineyard at “The Springs" in 1865.

Other early settlers who selected land in the vicinity of "The Springs" were W. Vezey, J. W. Fawcett, E. and S. Morris, Charles Kemp and Edward Caldwell.

After the discovery of the "Welcome Stranger" nugget in 18869, John Deason and his family went to live at “The Springs”. Mr. Deason remained at "The Springs" until the property was purchased by Frederick and George Carless.

Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Carless, their daughter Florence, and son Pearcey, made "The Springs" their home until 1929 when they moved to Western Australia.

Some of the property was sold to the Shay family and the remainder retained by Mr. George Carless.

Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Shay are the present owners, of the property, and it is due to their kind permission that this Visit to this historic spot, is possible.

The old stone kitchen, believed to have been built by local stone-mason named “Cumberland Jimmy", still forms an important living area in Mr. and Mrs. Shay's home.

The kitchen with its flag-stone floor, wide chimney said bread oven, has a cellar on the east side.
Stoned up wells may be seen just north of the house. These are supplied by springs which have their source at the foot of a hill covered with huge granite boulders.

These springs, after which the area has been named, were a very important source of fresh-water for early district settlers.

A reserve, east of "The Springs”, was once a popular picnic site, and picnics were being held there in 1871.

This pamphlet was prepared by Ronald L. Carless
Secretary Welcome Stranger Centenary Celebrations,
MOLIAGUL,
Via Dunolly, 3472
Victoria.

Acknowledgements:
• Phill Deason, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England
• Rick Smith, Launceston Tasmania, Australia
• Rob Smith, Runaway Bay, Queensland, Australia
• Richard (Dick Deason), Moliagul, Victoria, Australia
• Joyce Tuohey, Quambatook, Victoria, Australia
• Rob Oats, Devon, England
• John Morrow, West Preston, Melbourne, Victoria
• Maurice Deason, Nunawading, Victoria, Australia
• Reg Deason, Dunedin, New Zealand
• Duff family researchers, UK
• Leigh Prideaux, Carrum, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
• Sue Stewart, Australia
• Janet & Bill Storer, Charlestown, Newcastle, New South Wales
• Bev Harte, Toongabbie, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
• Greg McKerlie, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
• Mavis Coghlan, Upper Swan, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
• Leonie Ackley, Como, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
• Michael Kiernan, UK
• John Tully, Moliagul, Victoria, Australia
• Grace Deason, Morphett Vale, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
• Ron Carless, Moliagul, Victoria, Australia
• June Randall, Bayswater, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
• Kath & Tom Deason, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
• Jonathan Deason, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
• Arthur Deason, Moliagul, Victoria, Australia
• Trevor Brown, Australia

References:
Births & baptisms (UK):
• www.west-penwith.org.uk, 2004, Extract of Baptismal Records from parish of Pendeen (1849-1859) (ref - D_Doc_#051)
• Greg Campbell, 2005–2009, Listing of Deason Births & Baptisms in Cornwall (ref - D_Doc_#101)
• Ancestry.com, 2006, England and Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 13 January 2006 (ref - D_Doc_#101a)
• www.familysearch.org, 2005, International Genealogical Index Parish Birth & Baptismal index, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 21 October 2005 (ref - D_Doc_#101b)
• www.conwalleng.com, 2005, Cornwall Parish Register Index – Baptisms, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 8 October 2005, for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#101c)
• Greg Campbell, 2006, Extract of Deason births/baptisms from Duff Family Research (2006) (ref - D_Doc_#139)
• R M Baxter, 1975, Baptisms - Deason, Scilly Isles (ref - D_Doc_#149)
• Cornwall On-line Census Project, 2008, Cornwall Parish Register Index - Baptisms Pre & Post 1813, extracts for Deason & Deeson, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#212)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerk, Baptisms - Cornwall - 1755 - 1900, extract for Deason, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#224)
• www.familysearch.org, 2011, International Genealogical Index - Parish Birth & Baptismal index, extract for Stephen Davey, Cornwall, 17 June 2011 (ref – D_Doc_#473)
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Index to Births registered October, November, December, p 880 (ref – D_Doc_#479)

Marriages (UK):
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Marriage certificate, John Deason & Margaret Davey (ref - D_Doc_#046)
• General Register Office (UK), 1840, Marriage certificate, Philip Bonetto & Elizabeth Deason (nee Jenkins) (ref - D_Doc_#047)
• Greg Campbell, 2005–2009, Listing of Deason Marriages in Cornwall (ref - D_Doc_#102)
• Ancestry.com, 2004 & 2006, England and Wales, Marriage Index: 1837-1983, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 7 May 2004 & 13 January 2006 (ref - D_Doc_#102a)
• www.familysearch.org, 2005 & 2007, International Genealogical Index Parish Marriage index, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 21 October 2005 & 29 May 2007 (ref - D_Doc_#102b)
• www.conwalleng.com, 2005, Cornwall Parish Register Index – Marriages, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 8 October 2005, for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#102c)
• Greg Campbell, 2006, Extract of Deason marriages from Duff Family Research (2006) (ref - D_Doc_#140)
• R M Baxter, 1975, Marriages - Deason, Scilly Isles (ref - D_Doc_#150)
• Cornwall On-line Census Project, 2008, Cornwall Parish Register Index - Pre & Post 1813 Marriages, extract for Deason, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#216)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerk, 2008, Marriage Banns - Cornwall - 1837 - 1904, extract for Deason, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#221)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerk, 2008, Marriages - Cornwall - 1700 - 1904, extract for Deason, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#222)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerks, 2010, Marriages - details of record, extract for Richard Angwin & Grace Deason, 1853 (ref - D_Doc_#399)
• www.familysearch.org, 2011, International Genealogical Index - Parish Marriage index, extract for Ralph Polkinghorn & Margaret Thomas, Cornwall, 17 June 2011 (ref – D_Doc_#474)
• www.familysearch.org, 2011, International Genealogical Index - Parish Marriage index, extract for Stephen Davey & Margaret Eustace, Cornwall, 17 June 2011 (ref – D_Doc_#475)
Deaths & burials (UK):
• General Register Office (UK), 1847, Death Certificate, Philip Bonetto (ref - D_Doc_#052)
• General Register Office (UK), 1843, Death Certificate, Thomas Deason (ref - D_Doc_#053)
• Rob Oats, 2006, Oat(e)s Family Tree, extract for Richard Oat(e)s, 7 June 2006, from www.oats.org.uk (ref - D_Doc_#094)
• Greg Campbell, 2005-2010, Listing of Deason Deaths & Burials in Cornwall (ref - D_Doc_#103)
• Ancestry.com, 2006, England and Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 13 January 2006 (ref - D_Doc_#103a)
• www.familysearch.org, 2005, International Genealogical Index - Parish Burial index, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 21 October 2005 (ref - D_Doc_#103b)
• www.conwalleng.com, 2005, Cornwall Parish Register Index – Burials, extract for Deason, Cornwall, 8 October 2005, for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#103c)
• Federation of Family History Societies & Associates, 2004 & 2010, National Burial Index, extract for Deason, Cornwall, Editions 2 & 3 (1813-1837) (ref - D_Doc_#103d)
• R M Baxter, 1975, Burials - Deason, Scilly Isles (ref - D_Doc_#151)
• Cornwall On-line Census Project, 2008, Cornwall Parish Register Index – Burials Post 1813, extract for Deason, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#213)
• Dianne Donohue, 2005, Isles of Scilly - Burials, Parish (1818-1886) & Non-conformist (1886-1906) (ref - D_Doc_#214)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerk, 2008, Burials - Cornwall - 1732 - 1900, extract for Deason, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#226)
• Margaret Owens, 2009, West Penwith Burials – 1700-1900, extract for Deason in Cornwall (ref - D_Doc_#314)
• General Register Office (UK), 1862, Death certificate, Elizabeth Bonetto (nee Jenkins) (ref - D_Doc_#386)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerks, 2010, Burials - details of record, extract for Elizabeth Bonetto, 1862 (ref - D_Doc_#387)
• www.west-penwith.org.uk, 2011, St Just in Penwith Burials (1836-1849), extract for 1847 (ref - D_Doc_#462)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerks, 2011, Burials - details of record, extract for Hannah Davey, 1866 (ref - D_Doc_#477)
• Cornwall On-line Parish Clerks, 2011, Burials - details of record, extract for Stephen Davey, 1863 (ref - D_Doc_#478)
• Federation of Family History Societies & Associates, 2004, National Burial Index, extract for 27 September 1830, Isles of Scilly, Edition 2 (1813-1837)
• Rob Oats, Devon, England, 2006, Correspondence – Oats family graves, Pendeen

Censuses (UK):
• General Register Office (UK), 1841, Census of England & Wales, Boscaswell, Cornwall, p 27 (ref - D_Doc_#001)
• General Register Office (UK), 1841, Census of England & Wales, Cararack, Cornwall, p 27 (ref - D_Doc_#002)
• General Register Office (UK), 1841, Census of England & Wales, Bojewyan, Cornwall, p 3 (ref - D_Doc_#009)
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Census of England & Wales, Trewellard, Cornwall, p 17 (ref - D_Doc_#010)
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Census of England & Wales, Trewellard, Cornwall, p 28 (ref - D_Doc_#011)
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Census of England & Wales, Bojewyan Stennack, Cornwall, p 22 (ref - D_Doc_#012)
• General Register Office (UK), 1841, Census of England & Wales, Cararack, Cornwall, pps 27 - 30 (ref - D_Doc_#097)
• Greg Campbell, 2005, 1841 Census of England & Wales, extract for Deason, all Cornwall, from www.west-penwith.org.uk (ref - D_Doc_#100)
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Census of England & Wales, Cararack, Cornwall, p 12 (ref - D_Doc_#159)
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Census of England & Wales, Botallack, Cornwall, p 11 (ref - D_Doc_#160)
• Margaret Owens, 2007 & 2009, Deason Family Tree (extracts for Deason, Cornwall from Parish Registers and Censuses 1841 to 1901) (ref - D_Doc_#194)
• Cornwall On-line Census Project, 2008, 1841 Census – all Scillies, full listing, June 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#206)
• General Register Office (UK), 1851, Census of England & Wales, Pennance, Cornwall, p 34 (ref - D_Doc_#353)
• General Register Office (UK), 1861, Census of England & Wales, Trewellard, Cornwall p 9 (ref – D_Doc_#472)

Other information (UK):
• John Wright, 2005, A golden moment for two Scilly lads, published in Western Morning News (UK), 1 November 2005 (ref - D_Doc_#093)
• www.west-penwith.org.uk, 2005, Extract of Public Houses for Pendeen (ref - D_Doc_#107)
• www.west-penwith.org.uk, 2005, Kelly's Post Office Directory of Cornwall 1856, extract for St Just in Penwith (ref - D_Doc_#108)
• James Oats, 7 December 1964, Correspondence, to George Deason (ref - D_Doc_#177)
• N J Cahill & Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2002, Cornwall Industrial Settlements Initiative, Pendeen & Lower Boscaswell (ref – D_Doc_#480)
• N J Cahill & Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2002, Cornwall Industrial Settlements Initiative, Trewellard (ref – D_Doc_#482)
• N J Cahill & Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2002, Cornwall Industrial Settlements Initiative, Botallack & Truthwall (ref – D_Doc_#483)
• R Symons, 1884, Gazetteer of Cornwall
• Crispin Gill, 1975, The Isles of Scilly, pps 57, 175-177
• Glynnis Reeve, 1995, History of Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, p 57-63
• Philip Payton, 1999, The Cornish Overseas
• Phill Deason, 2004, Correspondence
• Dr Kingsley Gee, 2006, Correspondence regarding dropsy – its terminology and causes
• West Penwith Resources, 2011, search results for Cararack, (at http://west-penwith.org.uk)

Shipping & immigration:
www.reach.net, 2006, Lloyd’s Shipping Register, extracts for Epaminondas and Sultana (4 ships) (ref - D_Doc_#050)
• The South Australian Register, 26 December 1853, Shipping Intelligence (ref- D_Doc_#054a)
• Port of Melbourne (Vic), 1854, Passengers' list - for Sultana, 24 January 1854 (ref - D_Doc_#112a)
• www.theshipslist.com, 2008, Immigration to South Australia, (UK, assisted passage) 1847-1886 (ref - D_Doc_#195)
• Port of Melbourne (Vic), 1854, Passenger's list for Norwood, 25 July 1854 (ref - D_Doc_#197)
• Government Gazette (SA), 5 January 1854, pps 3 & 5 (ref - D_Doc_#266)
• R Harris, J Jeffery, G Slattery, 2004, Bound for South Australia, extract for Epaminondas (ref - D_Doc_#267)
• Hodge, 19??, South Australian Shipping Arrivals & departures (Hodge Index), checked for 1852-1854
• The South Australian Register, 1853 & 1854, shipping departures checked, 26 December 1853 to 4 March 1854
• Argus, 25 January 1854, under Shipping Intelligence, p4
• Port of Melbourne, Victoria, immigration records, checked for 1853 & 1854 for Deason and Oat(e)s
• Marten A Syme, 1987, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Victorian Ports, Vol 2, p 225
• Bev & John Harte, April 2006, Discussions on arrival of John Deason in Australia
• Rob Oates, 2008, Correspondence regarding Oat(e)s family on Epaminondas

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths & burials (Aust):
• Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Vic), 1858, Death Certificate, Margaret Deason (ref - D_Doc_#043)
• Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Vic), 1858, Marriage Certificate, John Deason & Catherine McAndrew (ref - D_Doc_#044)
• Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Vic), 1878, Marriage Certificate, Thomas Deason & Esther Eddy Pollard (ref - D_Doc_#045)
• Greg Campbell, 2004, Moliagul Cemetery inscriptions - transcript for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#089)
• Digger, 2005, Death Index Victoria 1921-1985, extract for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#104)
• Digger, 2005, Marriage Index, Victoria 1921-1942, extract for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#105)
• Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Vic), 2001, Historical Index (1855-1920), extract for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#106)
• Genealogical Society of Victoria, 1988, Victorian Cemetery indexes, for Deason (transcript, Greg Campbell 1988) (ref - D_Doc_#131)
• B M Jackman, 2003, Bendigo Advertiser Personal Notices 1881-1895, Vol 2, p 106 (ref - D_Doc_#173)
• Annette Donohue, 2003, Bendigo Independent 1862-1865, Inquests, book 1, p 29 (ref - D_Doc_#175)
• Luke, Tom, Libby, Ian & Pat Belmont, 2008, Eaglehawk historic cemetery, Bendigo: monumental section headstones, extract 18 August 2009 for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#244, 2009 - #9, 12, 13 & 38)
• Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies, 2002, AIGS Cemetery Records, extract for Deason, 12 August 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#245)
• Suzanne Lindy Deason, 2008, Moliagul Cemetery Trust Register – As at 5th August 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#252)
• Annette O’Conner & Bev Hanson, 1993, Where they lie: early burials on the Bendigo Goldfields 1852-1870, pps 28, 41, 55, 57, 80, 97, 103, 114
• Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Vic), 1905-1929, Victorian Probate Indexes, indexes checked for John & Catherine Deason
• Public Records Office (Vic), 1840-1985, Victorian Inquest Indexes, checked for Deason
• Public Records Office (Vic), 19??, Victorian Inquest Index 1840-1985, index for Mary Ann Deason, 1913
• Fawkner Cemetery, Melbourne, 1913, Index & details for Mary Anne Deason

Family trees & history:
• Billy Warburton, 1969, Deason Family Tree (ref - D_Doc_#014 & 015)
• probably Venus Free (nee Deason), c1967, Deason Family Tree (ref - D_Doc_#016)
• Venus Free (nee Deason), c1940, Deason Family Tree (ref - D_Doc_#017)
• Janet & Bill Storer, 2003, Catherine Deason nee McAndrew (ref - D_Doc_#042)
• Sue Stewart, 2001, McAndrew Family Tree, extract from Harris/Townsley Family Tree on www.ancestry.com (ref - D_Doc_#074)
• Rob Oats, 2006, Oat(e)s Family Tree, extract for Richard Oat(e)s, 7 June 2006, from www.oats.org.uk (ref - D_Doc_#094)
• Rob Oats, 2006, Oat(e)s Family Tree, extract for Jane Blewett Penrose, 7 June 2006, from www.oats.org.uk (ref - D_Doc_#095)
• Leslie Deason & Phill Deason, c1960–2004, Deason Family Tree (transcribed Greg Campbell, 2004) (ref- D_Doc_#127)
• Rick Smith, 2005, Deason Family Tree (ref - D_Doc_#136)
• Margaret Owens, 2007 & 2009, Deason Family Tree (extracts for Deason, Cornwall from Parish Registers and Censuses 1841 to 1901) (ref - D_Doc_#194)
• Trevor Brown, 2008, Agatha Evelyn Jenkins & descendants (Jenkin(s) Family Tree) (ref - D_Doc_#239)
• Rick Smith, 2011, Deason Family Tree (ref - D_Doc_#408)
• Leigh Prideaux, 2005, Correspondence regarding early Jenkin(s) and Pender families, Isles of Scilly
• Rob Oats, Devon, England, 2006, Correspondence regarding Oat(e)s families, Cornwall
• Janet & Bill Storer, 2006, Correspondence regarding McAndrew Family Tree

Farming, land purchase & lease records & maps – pre 1869:
• Government Gazette (Vic): 10 November 1857, pps 2148, 2149; 23 February 1858, p 365, (ref - D_Doc_#244)
• Department of Lands and Survey (Vic), 1873, Land Titles Map - Woodstock (ref - D_Doc_#377)

Gold prospecting – pre 1869:
• John Tully, 1990, Map of gold finds & mines – Dunolly, Tarnagulla & Moliagul (ref - D_Doc_#060)
• Dunolly Historical & Arts Society, 19??, The Welcome Stranger Nugget, What do we know? (ref - D_Doc_#165)
• Author unknown, 1858, Discovery of a Nugget Weighing 22 Pounds, published in the Hobart Courier, 18 June 1858, reprinted from the Ballaarat Star, 17 June 1858 (ref - D_Doc_#268-#X14)
• Author unknown, 1869, Largest Nugget in the World, The Welcome Stranger, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 12 February, 1869 (ref - D_Doc_#269)
• Author unknown, 1869, Largest Nugget in the World, The Welcome Stranger, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 16 February, 1869 (ref - D_Doc_#270)
• Terry Potter, 1999, The Welcome Stranger, pps 4-17 (ref - D_Doc_#340)
• James Flett, 1974, Dunolly Story of an Old Gold Diggings, pps 30, 147, 10, 161
• Bill Humphreys, 2009, Moliagul School A Second Innings, pps 3, 110

Gold – Welcome Stranger discovery (1869) & related:
• Rob Smith, 1991, Correspondence – Edward Eudey (ref - D_Doc_#020)
• Author unknown, 19??, untitled (on Discovery of Welcome Stranger) (ref - D_Doc_#025)
• Anthony Black, 2000, Finding of the Welcome Stranger, published in Sunday Herald Sun, 5 March 2000, p25 (ref - D_Doc_#026)
• Katherine Knight, 2001, The Real Welcome Stranger Story, from www.gold-net.com.au (originally published in Gold Net Australia, April 2000) (ref - D_Doc_#027)
• Kim Mawson, 2001, Golden Welcome, (book review of The Welcome Stranger, 1999, Terry Potter) (ref - D_Doc_#028)
• Author unknown, 6 August 1896, The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” – A Historical Nugget (ref - D_Doc_#029)
• C P Ward, 19??, True story of the world’s largest Nugget (ref - D_Doc_#029)
• Probably Venus Free (nee Deason), 194?, Quambatook Story of Welcome Stranger Gold (ref - D_Doc_#030)
• Author unknown, 23 November 1905, Account by John Deason finding the Welcome Stranger taken at the age of 75, from www.gold-net.com.au (possibly from a local newspaper) (ref - D_Doc_#031)
• Charles Barrett, 1944, Gold, pps 55-53 (ref - D_Doc_#032)
• Times (London), 19 April 1869, Latest Intelligence - Australia, p 5 (ref - D_Doc_#033)
• John Tully, 1990, The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk (ref - D_Doc_#035)
• Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Vic), 1858, Marriage Certificate, John Deason & Catherine McAndrew (ref - D_Doc_#044)
• John Wright, 2005, A golden moment for two Scilly lads, published in Western Morning News (UK), 1 November 2005 (ref - D_Doc_#093)
• Rick Smith, 2005, Deason Family Tree (ref - D_Doc_#136)
• Dunolly Historical & Arts Society, 200?, The Welcome Stranger Discovery Walk (ref - D_Doc_#164)
• Dunolly Historical & Arts Society, 19??, The Welcome Stranger Nugget, What do we know? (ref - D_Doc_#165)
• Francis Knox Orme, 12 February 1869, Report to the Mines Minister (ref - D_Doc_#165)
• Robert Brough Smythes, 1869, Goldfields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, section – Large Nugget found near Dunolly (ref - D_Doc_#165)
• The National Museum (Vic), 9 December 1941, Correspondence, to Mrs L A Deason & acknowledgement of receipt (ref - D_Doc_#176)
• James Oats, 7 December 1964, Correspondence, to George Deason (ref - D_Doc_#177)
• Pat O’Neill, 1940, Gold – Two Hundredweight of it, published in Woman, 14 October 1940, p 13 (ref - D_Doc_#180)
• Author unknown, 1932, The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger”, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express and County of Gladstone Advertiser, 5 April, 1932, p1 (extract from Dunolly Express, 12 February 1869, p 1) (ref - D_Doc_#181)
• Author unknown, 1934, The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” Nugget, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express and County of Gladstone Advertiser, 6 February 1934, p 3 (ref- D_Doc_#182)
• Author unknown, 1969, "Welcome Stranger" centenary at Moliagul, published in Weekly Times, 26 February 1969, p 70 (ref - D_Doc_#183)
• Pat O’Neil, 1940, Gold – By The Hundredweight, published in Picture News, pps 34 & 35 (ref - D_Doc_#185)
• Anthony Radford, 2008, Gold mementos make a welcome return, published in Bendigo Weekly, 28 March 2008, p3 (ref - D_Doc_#198)
• Rick Smith, 2008, Correspondence - John Deason & Welcome Stranger (ref - D_Doc_#201)
• Michael Kiernan, 2003, Correspondence - Deason & Oates Monument, Redruth, Cornwall, transcript Rick Smith, 2008, part of Correspondence - John Deason & Welcome Stranger (ref - D_Doc_#201)
• Author unknown, 2008, Moliagul – Tiny and historical significant gold mining town, published in FairfaxDigital (http://walkabout.fairfax.com.au/fairfax/locations/VICMoliagul.shtm), 6 May 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#202)
• James Flett, 1974, Dunolly: Story of an Old Gold Diggings, pps 159-163 (ref - D_Doc_#203)
• John Deason, September 1875, Notice of Application for Gold Mining Lease (ref - D_Doc_#251)
• Erle Cox, 1926, Gold-seekers of the ‘Fifties, published in the Argus, 9 September 1926, under News Illustrated (ref - D_Doc_#268-#545)
• Pipeclay-Brown, 1931, The Welcome Stranger, published in the Argus, 23 May 1931, under News (ref - D_Doc_#268-#553)
• C R C Pearce, 1932, Famous Nuggets – The Wheel of Fortune, published in the Argus, 19 March 1932, under News (ref - D_Doc_#268-#X13)
• Author unknown, 1869, Largest Nugget in the World, The Welcome Stranger, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 12 February, 1869 (ref - D_Doc_#269)
• Author unknown, 1869, Largest Nugget in the World, The Welcome Stranger, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 16 February, 1869 (ref - D_Doc_#270)
• Author unknown, 1969? Note on the past, published in the Weekly Times?, 26 February 1969? (ref - D_Doc_#339)
• Terry Potter, 1999, The Welcome Stranger, pps 19, 21, 28 (ref - D_Doc_#340)
• Author unknown, 1915, Old pioneer passes away, Death of Mr John Deason, Finder of the “Welcome Stranger” Nugget, possibly written by a family member for use as a eulogy at John Deason’s funeral 15 September 1915 (ref - D_Doc_#359)
• Bill Humphreys, 2009, Moliagul School A Second Innings, p 115
• John Morrow, 2006, Correspondence – Welcome Stranger group photograph
• Gloria Bennett, 2006, Correspondence – Welcome Stranger replica
• Greg McKerlie, Bendigo, 2007, Discussion – Welcome Stranger souvenirs & silver-plating
• June Randall, 2008, Correspondence – Welcome Stranger sketch
• Phoebe Cutting, 2009, Correspondence – Welcome Stranger souvenir

Gold prospecting – post 1869:
• Author unknown, 6 August 1896, The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” – A Historical Nugget (ref - D_Doc_#029)
• Author unknown, 19??, extracts from John Tully, 19??, Dunolly and Tarnagulla Goldfields (ref - D_Doc_#031)
• John Edward Deason, 1938, Correspondence, to George Wilfred Deason (ref - D_Doc_#190)
• Rick Smith, 2008, Correspondence - John Deason & Welcome Stranger (ref - D_Doc_#201)
• Government Gazette (Vic): 25 June 1869, p 929; 25 June 1869, p 929; 26 January 1872, p 191; 12 May 1872, p 729; 3 May 1872, p 865; 29 November 1872, p 2156; 20 June 1873, p 1093; 22 August 1873, p 1495; 19 September 1873, p 1647; 22 October 1875, p 1993; 14 January 1876, p 52; 13 September 1878, p 2262; 1 November 1878, p 2806; 10 January 1879, p 81 (ref - D_Doc_#244)
• John Deason, September 1875, Notice of Application for Gold Mining Lease (ref - D_Doc_#251)
• Marion R McAdie, 2006, Mining Shareholders Listing 1857-1886 (Vic), extract for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#255)
• Author unknown, 1869, Largest Nugget in the World, The Welcome Stranger, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 16 February, 1869 (ref - D_Doc_#270)
• Terry Potter, 1999, The Welcome Stranger, pps 28, 32, 33 (ref - D_Doc_#340)
• Government Gazette (Vic): 1869, Mining Leases - Gold Leases, p 1594 & (annual format) Application for Mining Leases, p 869 & (annual format): 1869, p 1594; 1869, pps 869 & 1594; 1867, p 2414 (ref - D_Doc_#365)

Farming, land purchase & lease records & maps – post 1869:
• Author unknown, 8 August 1896, The Finding of the “Welcome Stranger” – A Historical Nugget (ref - D_Doc_#029)
• Department of Lands and Survey (Vic), 2005, Moliagul survey map, from www.land.vic.gov.au (ref - D_Doc_#059)
• Ronald L. Carless, 1969, Visit to “The Springs”, Moliagul (ref - D_Doc_#166)
• John Edward Deason, 1938, Correspondence, to George Wilfred Deason (ref - D_Doc_#190)
• Government Gazette (Vic): 14 August 1874, p 1505; 25 March 1875, p 599; 13 April 1876, p 711; 12 May 1876, p 886; 29 March 1877, p 603; 29 March 1878 p 711; 18 April 1879, p 871; 21 November 1879, p 2733; 18 March 1887, p 797; 7 April 1887, p 990; 8 July 1887, p 2018; 15 June 1888, p 1990; 28 June 1889, p 278; 21 August 1891, p 3483 (ref - D_Doc_#244)
• Marion R McAdie, 2006, Mining Shareholders Listing 1857-1886 (Vic), extract for Deason (ref - D_Doc_#255)
• Author unknown, 1869, Largest Nugget in the World, The Welcome Stranger, published in Dunolly & Betbetshire Express, 12 February, 1869 (ref - D_Doc_#269)
• Terry Potter, 1999, The Welcome Stranger, p 33 (ref - D_Doc_#340)
• Department of Lands and Survey (Vic), 1931 & 1946, Land Titles Maps - Moliagul (3 maps) (ref - D_Doc_#376)
• Richard (Dick) Deason, 2009, Discussion – The Springs

Other information (Aust):
• Catherine McAndrew, 1921, Correspondence, transcribed, Jill Caldwell, 2006 (ref - D_Doc_#041)
• John Deason, 1903, Last Will and Testament (ref - D_Doc_#048)
• Herring & Herring, Solicitors, 1915, Probate Affidavit, John Deason (ref - D_Doc_#049)
• Genealogical Society of Victoria, 2003, Goldfields Hospital Admissions 1860-1920, extract 6 April 2006, Deason for Castlemaine Hospital (ref - D_Doc_#091)
• Greg Campbell, 2005, Victorian Electoral Roll 1856, extract for Pollard (ref - D_Doc_#092)
• Rick Smith, 2005, Deason Family Tree (ref - D_Doc_#136)
• Dunolly and Betbetshire Express, 17 September 1915, Obituary for John Deason, (from Rick Smith, 2005, Deason Family Tree) (ref - D_Doc_#136)
• Ronald L. Carless, 1969, Visit to “The Springs”, Moliagul (ref - D_Doc_#166)
• B M Jackman, 2003, Bendigo Advertiser Personal Notices 1896-1910, Vol 3, p 65 (ref - D_Doc_#174)
• Pat O’Neil, 1940, Gold – By The Hundredweight, published in Picture News, pps 34 & 35 (ref - D_Doc_#185)
• John Edward Deason, 1938, Correspondence, to George Wilfred Deason (ref - D_Doc_#190)
• George Wilfred Deason, 30 August 1986, Correspondence, to Mr Davis (ref - D_Doc_#191)
• Author unknown, 2008, Moliagul – Tiny and historical significant gold mining town, published in FairfaxDigital (http://walkabout.fairfax.com.au/fairfax/locations/VICMoliagul.shtm), 6 May 2008 (ref - D_Doc_#202)
• Government Gazette (Vic): 21 January 1861, p 124; 21 October 1862, p 2050 (ref - D_Doc_#244)
• Commonwealth Electoral Office, 1903, 1909 & 1919, Electoral Roll for Dunolly, Vic (ref - D_Doc_#290)
• Commonwealth Electoral Office, 1919, 1924 & 1931, Electoral Roll for Dunolly, Vic (ref - D_Doc_#336)
• Terry Potter, 1999, The Welcome Stranger, p 31 (ref - D_Doc_#340)
• Author unknown, 1915, Old pioneer passes away, Death of Mr John Deason, Finder of the “Welcome Stranger” Nugget, possibly written by a family member for use as a eulogy at John Deason’s funeral 15 September 1915 (ref - D_Doc_#359)
• Australian Heritage, 2005, Heritage Touring: The Copper Trail from Kapunda to Burra, Summer 2005, pps 76, 80
• Jennifer M T Carter, 2005, When Copper was King: The Copper Rush that saved South Australia, published in Australian Heritage, Summer 2005, p56
• Victorian Electoral Roll, 1856, checked for Deason & Oat(e)s
• Ronald L Carless, 1965, Church of St Michael and All Angels, Moliagul, under Sunday School
• Ronald L Carless, 1970, History of St John’s, (Dunolly), p 15-16
• James Flett, 1974, Dunolly: Story of an Old Gold Diggings, pps 191-201
• Jeanette Richards, 2006, Back to Dunolly – 150 years, p 19
• Shirley Xanthos, 2009, Where did all the bricks go? A History of the Congregational Church and parsonage, Dunolly, pps 38, 49, 50, 53, 61
• Bill Humphreys, 2009, Moliagul School A Second Innings, p 13, 17, 75
Notes for Margaret (Spouse 1)
Margaret died of pulmonary phthisis (TB).
Notes for Catherine (Spouse 2)
Catherine sailed on the “Conway” from Liverpool, England on 10th June 1858. It had mostly single females onboard. The ship arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 15th September 1858.3 (Page 257).

Lived at married life at Sandhurst (Bendigo), Moliagul, and Dunolly, Victoria, Australia.

Given Name
Catherine
Surname
Deason
Alternative Name
 
Title
 
File number
183/772
Death Date
9 Sep 1921
Death Date notes
 
Grant Date
26 Nov 1921
Grant Date notes
 
Nature of Grant
A
General Notes
 
Occupation
Widow
Residence
Moliagul
Country of Residence
 
State of Residence
 
Residence notes
 
To whom committed
 

Sherylee Eustace is researching McANDEW she can be contacted at <genieoz@optusnet.com.au> or (03) 9382 8995.

More About Catherine McANDREW:
Burial: 1921, Moliagal cemetery, Victoria, Australia. (Source: Aigs Cemetery records.)
Cause of Death: Cemi (sic) decay (Source: Aigs Cemetery records.)
Grave loc: 1921, 200 (Source: Aigs Cemetery records.)
Probate: has probate (Source: Probate indexes.)
Last Modified 13 April 2013Created 20 January 2014 using Reunion for Macintosh