This October marks 150 years since the discovery of the world’s largest known single mass of gold, the Beyers and Holtermann Specimen, at Hill End, near Bathurst.
Often incorrectly referred to as the ‘Holtermann Nugget’, the gold mass contained 3,000 ounces of gold in one lump and was discovered on 19th October 1872 at Star Hope Mine, Hill End, which was originally established by Bernard Otto Holtermann and Louis Beyers. News of this stunning find quickly reverberated around the world causing a short-term flood of diggers into the Hill End goldfield. Nothing like it, that we know of, has been unearthed before or since and its enormity can only be appreciated by the fact it was less than 20% of the total patch of gold discovered; it just happened to be the biggest intact piece. One newspaper of the day said that it appeared all the more golden in the bright daylight and it was soon apparent that the gold was through every part of it. An estimated one-third of the specimen would prove to be the real metal.
To celebrate this sesquicentenary, locally-based, renowned goldrush historian and History Hill Museum owner, Malcolm Drinkwater, is bringing gold and the Holtermann name together once again, hosting a special event, ‘Gold: The Beyers & Holtermann Specimen’, at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC), on Saturday 22 October.
“We have produced an entertaining, informative documentary that traces the true story of the discovery of this remarkable gold mass and I’m excited that we’ll have descendants of B.O. Holtermann joining us for its premiere showing in Bathurst” says Mr Drinkwater.
Combining the documentary premiere with a presentation on gold and goldrush history, the event will also include a Q & A session, and afternoon tea will be provided.
“This is a very special occasion and an incredible opportunity to mark this golden moment in our history, with John Holterman introducing our documentary, just days from the anniversary date.”
The ticketed event is sure to be popular with history buffs, prospectors, and anyone keen to find out more about gold and its place in Australia’s early colonial and more recent history.
“I’ve been passionate about Australian goldrush history, in particular the real-life events that surrounded the finding of the Beyers and Holtermann Specimen at Hill End. In total, my research has taken over fifty years and it is a great thrill to have the opportunity to share the journey and new conclusions in this way,” says Mr Drinkwater.
Through the documentary and personal presentation of his research findings, Mr Drinkwater will correct many myths that have swirled around the discovery of the Beyers and Holtermann Specimen and the characters involved in its story, and share some of the extraordinary pursuits that its windfall financed, including the extraordinary photographic library, The Holtermann Collection.
All audience members will have the chance to win great prizes.
“We have goldrush DVDs and books as lucky door prizes and our major prize includes some Hill End gold and copies of my books signed by Holtermann’s descendants.”
Tickets for the event go on-sale from 10am Thursday 28 July and can be purchased online at bmec.com.au or at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre’s ticket box office ph: 6333 6161. Event information: https://www.historyhill.com.au/event-150-years-beyers-and-holtermann/