The Welcome Stranger Nugget
Moliagul went into the annals of history with the discovery of the 'Welcome
Stranger Nugget' on the 5h February, 1869. The world's biggest nugget
weighing approximately 319 kilos it had to be broken into pieces to
be weighed. So big was the nugget it was said that discoverer John Deason
broke his pick trying to free the nugget from under tree roots. He then
covered it over and returned later with friend Oates to help him remove
Moliagul is also famous as the birthplace of Rev. John Flynn, who later
set up the Royal Flying Doctors Service, providing medical care to the
remote areas of Australia.
Bushranger Gipsy Smith.
Another famous character of Moliagul district was Bushranger Gipsy Smith.
A man of immense strength, he had escaped from prison or on route to
prison four times and chose Mt. Moliagul as his field of operation after
his gang shot and killed a policeman. At one stage he held up no less
than 16 people who passed along the Korong road, tied them to trees,
then laid bets with them that he could shoot the braid off of Warden
Thompson's cap as he passed. Eventually caught while planning another
robbery, Gipsy was sentenced to 15 years gaol, the first two in chains.
If one chooses to stay at Mt. Moliagul Hotel, as well as great country
hospitality, keep a look out for the reported ghost who haunts the hotel.
No less than three suspicious deaths have been reported to have occurred
in the hotel throughout its history. Which one is the ghost you can
decide for yourself - IF YOU DARE! Moliagul still has evidence of the
wonderful Cherry Orchards planted by Chinese diggers over a century
ago and still supplying local today.
On route between Moliagul and Tarnagulla you will pass Scarred Trees,
bushfoods and rock formations the only evidence of the Jaara peoples
long connection with this district. Similar evidence is also seen along
the Bealiba/Golsdborough tracks and Nin Martins' father told how he
had to flatten large middens on their property to farm the paddocks.
Historically portrayed as people who kept to the perimeter of the gold
diggings and who were either frightened by events or drunk and violent;
it is now believed they were actively involved in the Gold rushes as
guides, diggers, farmers, and skin traders. In the Ballarat region they
patrolled the goldfields with the controversial Native Police Corp.
Later they were forced onto Mission Stations where they suffered from
disease and alcohol abuse. The last full blood Djadja Wurrung to live
in the district was King Tommy, who died in 1892 and is buried in one
of the unmarked graves in the Dunolly Cemetery.
The story of Tommy Dunolly is typical for Aboriginals in the late 1800's.
Bom in Dunolly in 1856 to an Aboriginal mother, European father, he
was orphaned at an early age and sent to live at Franklinford Mission
with many other orphans. At age 7 he was moved to the Government station
'Coranderrk' at Healesville, where he was educated. With the introduction
of 'assimilation policy' (half bloods not allowed to mix with full bloods)
he was no longer allowed to live at Corandeffk and was forced to move
to New South Wales. Eventually the land he was farming was confiscated
by the Government and as policies had again changed, he returned to
Corandeffk where he lived out his days, dying in 1923. Tommy Dunolly
will be remembered for his tireless activism for Aboriginal Rights.