The Land of the Eagle

By Dee Cee

Gold fever for me started some 80 years ago in the depths of the Depression years and the event that set it off remains clear to this day.

At the time our family was trying to exist on the meagre crop of wheat from our farm block north of Merredin, a town in Western Australia between Perth and Kalgoorlie. I attended school there and one morning the headmaster got our small class to line up along the wire fence at the school boundary to witness the arrival of an open utility driven by Mr Larcombe, who backed it up to the fence. The floor had a few wheat bags covering it and they were thrown back to reveal to our amazement the recently discovered ‘Golden Eagle’ nugget weighing in at 1,135oz 15dwt. The nugget had been discovered at Larkinville by Mr Larcombe’s son, Jimmy, on the 15th of January, 1931.

Jimmy was 17-years-old and had only been digging for five weeks with his father when he discovered the nugget about six feet down. The area had been previously abandoned by Bill Sheehan. The ‘Golden Eagle’ was sold to the Western Australian Government after Mr Larcombe knocked back an offer of 6,000 pounds! This was an enormous amount of money especially when you consider that unemployment was more than 30% at the time.

With a little imagination the great lump of gold resembled the shape of an eagle and we lovingly patted and stroked it and dreamt our dreams.

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