‘Grumpy’ husband who found gold nugget sells it for $175

A Victorian man who found a 2.7kg gold nugget after his wife booted him out of the house for being “grumpy” has sold it for $175,000

Mick Brown, from Kerang, unearthed the 87-ounce nugget in March while letting off steam on a solo prospecting trip near Wedderburn.

The hunk of gold was passed in for $160,000 at an auction in April despite keen interest from US buyers, but Mr Brown told 9Stories he has since sold the nugget in Ballarat.

“It’s a private collector in Australia. I believe they’ll keep it as a nugget and we might find it in a museum one day,” he said.

“I sort of wanted to keep it in Australia because, you know, it’s our nugget.”

Mr Brown, 42, said the money had helped straighten out his finances.

“I’ve paid off my tax debt, which was always haunting me and I’ve bought a couple of things here and there. I paid my credit cards off and threw them in the bloody bin,” he said.

Mr Brown said he found the gold after his wife persuaded him to go away for a few days and give her some space.

“I’d given up smoking cigarettes and I was getting grumpy,” he said.

“I’ve got four daughters as well so I was sort of getting ganged up on.

They all got together and said, ‘I reckon you should go bush until you sort your sh—out’.”

Mr Brown said he couldn’t believe it when he caught his first glimpse of the gold.

“I sort of just saw the top and I thought, ‘Oh my God, oh my God’. I thought it couldn’t be, because I was still grumpy,” he said.

“I scratched it and cut a bit off with my knife and thought, ‘My God it is’.

“I went to my mate’s place here in Wedderburn and we cleaned it all up and we were all pretty excited.

“And then we got some beer. We got on the piss I suppose.”

Mr Brown said he had been back to the location, which he has kept secret, since and picked up “a few other pieces” but nothing anywhere near the scale of the nugget.

The chef by trade, who works casually in the local mines, said he had found about half a kilo, or $30,000 worth of gold since the nugget.

“I’ve been finding a bit of gold lately. I found a 50-gram nugget yesterday which is a $2500 piece,” he said.

Mr Brown’s spectacular find appears to have sparked a mini-gold rush in the area.

“I think it’s opened a few eyes. There’s been quite an influx of people out there near Wedderburn, camping out in the bush,” Mr Brown said.
“I’ve had people come to the Wedderburn caravan park when I’m here, chasing me up and wanting me to give them a few tips.”

Paul Connellan, from the Coiltek Gold Centre in Maryborough, said his store had seen a spike in customers since Mr Brown’s discovery.

“There’s been a lot more people customers coming in and they’ve been talking about Mick and the nugget,” Mr Connellan said.

Detectors similar to the one Mr Brown used to find the nugget cost around $6,000, he said.

Amateur prospectors looking to strike it rich were flocking to the region from as far as NSW and SA, he said.

“We do training days on Friday and Saturdays for beginners and they’re always booked out, we’ve been having to turn people away.”

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