April 3, 2021 By Moya Sharp
The Donors Of Famous Nugget: Mrs. Lynch, the first woman to be married at Coolgardie, and her sister, Mrs. Airey and inset the brooch on which is mounted the original nugget of gold found by Paddy Hannan at Kalgoorlie and presented to Mrs. Lynch by the famous prospector himself.
There have been bids from all over the world, but up to the present, the owner has refused all offers and has now asked the Lord Mayor of Perth (Dr. T. W. Meagher) to dispose of the nugget in aid of the war funds.
The owner of the famous piece of gold is Mrs Clara Lynch, now a resident of Southern Cross, but who has the distinction of being the first girl to have been married at Coolgardie. She went to the famous gold town In 1892 and a year later, at the age of 15, she was appointed manageress of Evan Wisdom’s Exchange Hotel.
She had known both Bayley and Patrick Hannan at Parker’s Range in 1892. Her next meeting with Hannan was in December 1893 – six months after the discovery which rocked the world. The famous prospector came to the Exchange Hotel in Coolgardie, very ill through drinking bad water. Mrs. Lynch (known as Miss Clara Saunders at that time), whose fame had spread throughout the Goldfields for her willing help to distressed prospectors, gave up her own bedroom to ensure that he would be comfortable.
When Hannan recovered, as a token of gratitude, he presented her with a tiny nugget of gold saying “it brought me luck and I hope it will bring you luck too”. Hannan then went on to explain how he found the nugget whilst unsaddling his horse. He saw the gold glittering on the ground as he threw his pack down. On that spot today stands the tree in Kalgoorlie bearing the notice indicating that gold was first discovered by Hannan there.
“While I have had the nugget I have had numerous offers for it,” said Mrs. Lynch to The Sunday Times. ”People at home and overseas have wanted to get it for the sentimental value and for the privilege of being able to say that they own the first piece of gold ever taken out of Kalgoorlie.” But all offers have been refused.
Mrs. Lynch eventually had the gold mounted on a gold chain which was presented to her by Jack Pickering, who, with Jimmy Jennett and Jim Cabell, were at Lake Darlot.
Both Mrs. Lynch and her sister Mrs. Airey, are great Red Cross workers. Mrs. Airey had her first experience overseas in the Boer War when she went as a nurse to South Africa. In the last war, Mrs. Airey knitted socks and raised £50 for the Red Cross by allowing people to knit a row in a pair of socks for Field Marshal Birdwood....
The rest of the story can be read here: Outback family history blog.
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Credit: Moya Sharp