THE STEVE LANGTON GOLD NUGGET COLLECTION
The recent discovery of a 5.5 kg (177 oz) gold nugget found within 30 km of the Ballarat city centre just goes to show that there is still treasure out on the Ballarat goldfields waiting for those who seek it. In the 1980s, one such lucky prospector was Steve Langton,a retired mining engineer and speedway motorbike rider, who discovered the magnificent collection of 13 nuggets currently on display at the Gold Museum.
Steve found the nuggets near Maryborough, Victoria, using one of the early model metal detectors. Remarkably, they were all found close to the surface of the soil. Metal detectors remain a popular choice of prospecting tool for gold seekers today, and are available in a range of designs. Many gold nuggets discovered in the twenty-first century were found using detectors, including the Destiny Nugget and the Goldasaurus Nugget.
Steve and his wife Barbara named the two largest nuggets The Archbishop and The Lion’s Heart. Weighing 100 oz (2835 grams), The Archbishop Nugget is notable for its distinctive red colouring from the mixture of iron in the gold, which is a contrast to the bright yellow gold of The Lion’s Heart, weighing 60 oz (1701 grams).
The 13 Langton Nuggets are displayed together in the permanent exhibition in the Gold Museum’s Paul and Jessica Simon Pavilion. The collection is currently valued at over $750,000.
Early in 2009, The Archbishop and The Lion’s Heart were part of a national museum tour of Japan, in collaboration between the Gold Museum and the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. They were displayed in four museums across the country, and were viewed by over 187,000 people.
You can learn more about gold nuggets from:
Museum Victoria; Australian Gold, Gem and Treasure; Gold-net Australian Online; Victorian Department of Mines, ‘Memoirs of the geological survey of Victoria : no. 12. list of nuggets found in Victoria’ (1912); James Flett, The History of the Gold Discovery in Victoria, The Poppet Head Press: Melbourne (1979); Perth Mint.