Gold!

The bad news: We have not struck it rich panning for gold in the outback.

The good news: We did find plenty of gold at the Perth Mint.

At the mint, we learned about the history of gold in Australia and how its discovery led to a population explosion and rise of the Australian economy. The story of Australia’s Gold Rush has parallels in the U.S. Gold Rush. Just look at the statue of William Ford and Arthur Bayley, the first successful European gold prospectors in Western Australia, panning for gold. Look familiar? (Note: The third person in the photograph is not part of the original sculpture, nor does she have any gold. Only her weekly allowance.)

IMG_1627.jpg
James, Greg. The Strike. 1991, Perth Mint, Perth, Australia.

The Perth Mint houses the largest gold coin in the world. At one time, Australia and Canada were in a game of one-upmanship in the production of large coins, when Australia made this behemoth that has not been matched. Its face value is $1,000,000 Australian dollars, but its actual value is priceless.

 

As we continued through the mint, Syd couldn’t resist picking up this beauty.

IMG_1640
Replica of “Welcome Stranger,” the largest gold nugget ever found. It was found in the Australian state of Victoria in 1869. Sadly, it had to be broken up into three pieces to be weighed in at 72.02 kilograms!

We regret not being able to walk out with this, currently the second largest gold nugget in existence. (This is not a replica.)

IMG_1642

At the mint, you can try your hand at lifting an actual gold bar. Here is Syd’s attempt:

 

Last, but not least, during our tour we were able to observe a gold pour. Apparently, the same gold has been melted and recast into a gold bar for this demonstration for many, many years. To do the pour, our tour guide donned a Kevlar vest for protection. Here he is during the pour and with the actual gold bar.

IMG_1652

IMG_1656

All of the gold on Earth is extra-terrestrial, the result of neutron star collisions. It came from outer space and has been transformed by nature and by machines into the nuggets, coins, and bars at the mint. It was exciting to see clear reflections of a familiar history and hold a gleaming piece of the stars in our hands.

One thought on “Gold!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s