One of the largest gold nugget discoveries in Australia, and the largest gold nugget found in Western Australia, was called the Golden Eagle Nugget.
It was found in January of 1931 by a teenage boy, the son of a miner named Jim Larcombe.
The find was made in a rich goldfield near the now abandoned town of Widgimooltha. Located roughly 400 miles east of Perth and 50 miles south of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, it was the location of several rich gold strikes in the late 1800s.
The story of the discovery is an exciting one. Jim Larcombe had only been mining the location for a few weeks prior to the unearthing of the Golden Eagle Nugget. They were actually considering moving on toward richer ground, until a 6-pound nugget was unearth in the area. This convinced them to stay there and continue working.
It was said that the nugget was located beneath a road that lead to a mining camp, and had been driven over top of countless times by miners. When the nugget was unearthed, they immediately knew they had made a spectacular find.
Mr. Larcombe had spent the majority of his life prospecting for gold in Western Australia, primarily around Coolgardie and the surrounding goldfields. He had found plenty of gold in his life, but nothing like this.
When the nugget was eventually weighed, it was determined to be 1136 troy ounces, or roughly 35.3 kilograms. It measured over 62 centimeters in length and required two men to lift it properly.
Larcombe sold the nugget to the State Government for £5,438, a huge sum of money especially back then.
Unfortunately, as with so many of the large gold nuggets that were found throughout Australia and the world during those days, it was melted down for its gold value. Although it was an impressive piece, in the early days of gold mining, it was simply the gold content alone that determined the value of a nugget.
Today a collector would pay a hefty premium for a spectacular specimen like this, but at the time it was simply worth the amount of gold it contained, and nothing more. It experienced the same fate as the Holtermann Nugget, Welcome Stranger Nugget, and so many of Australia’s great gold nuggets.
Several pictures do exist of the find, and it is still believed to be the largest gold nugget ever found in Western Australia, and one of the largest ever found on Earth. A cast-replica of the nugget can be viewed at the School of Mines Rock and Mineral Museum in Kalgoorlie.
This area is still attracting a lot of attention from gold miners even today. In the arid environment, metal detectors are one of the preferred methods to search for gold here. Some nice pieces are still found every year in this area along with countless other goldfields throughout Western Australia.