New Museum's picture

New Museum
Thu, 12/03/2015 - 16:56 post

Throwback Thursday – January 1888

Jimmy Withnell picked up this stone near Roebourne in January 1888 to throw at a crow, which had spilt the flour for his damper. As the 19-year-old threw the stone, he noticed the glint of gold.

Jimmy quickly found more nuggets in the same area. They were taken to Roebourne’s Resident Magistrate Colonel Edward Fox Angelo who sent a telegram to Colonial Secretary Sir Malcolm Fraser: "Jimmy Withnell picked up a stone to throw at a crow seeing it glitter discovered gold stated to run very rich at mallina station peewar river thirty miles from forrester island" (sic). According to legend only the first line of the telegram, "Jimmy Withnell picked up a stone to throw at a crow", was received in Perth so the reply came back "... and what became of the crow?". 

The telegraph is held in the State Archives Acc 527 File 244/1888. The finding of the nugget led to the discovery of the first payable goldfields in the North West.

Quartz gold-bearing nugget on display in Hackett Hall

This quartz gold-bearing nugget has been on display in Hackett Hall at the WA Museum – Perth. As part of the preparations for building work for the New Museum for WA, the valuable and historically significant objects currently on display in Hackett Hall are being moved to safe storage. The heritage building will be incorporated into the New Museum’s design, which is due to open in 2020. 

You’re invited to share your #faveobjects and memories at:

WA Museum History Curator Joanne Hyland holding a quartz gold-bearing nugget