The Australian outback is full of precious gold, and not one or two rugged prospectors are on a mission to strike it rich! Whether due to grueling work, extreme weather conditions, technical problems or fierce competition, prospecting for gold in this hostile environment is not for the faint of heart! The hit series Australian Gold Diggers is back on Viasat Explore for its latest 7th season, and they’re tougher and more inventive and dare to take more risks than ever!
For the first time in history, Australia is the largest producer of gold in the world. Huge production and record prices are driving the Gold Rush of the 21st century, which is now global in scale. This season, veteran searchers in Australia are reaching new limits where they continue to work in the brutal conditions with great effort.
Photos: Viasat Explore
Australian Gold Diggers Season 7 – Every Thursday at 9pm
A new team – the Gold Retrievers – takes out a $250,000 loan in a desperate attempt to finance a massive operation on which their entire expedition depends. Marcus, Linden and Dale must tackle their riskiest and most expensive venture yet, while Shane and Russell risk their financial futures on an epic journey in search of big pieces.
In the new Season 7, Team Poseidon must sell their multi-million-dollar rig to fund excavation of a site that may contain a 1,000-ounce nugget. Jackie Busetti and Andrew Leahy brave the tropical heat and reptile-infested outback of far north Queensland.
We travel to the legendary gold fields along the Palmer River, where, according to historical sources, record quantities were mined. It is also home to the largest reptile on the planet, the saltwater crocodile, as well as the western taipan, the snake with the most toxic venom on earth. They make the place one of the most dangerous goldfields in Australia.
Australian Gold Diggers on Viasat Explore – Excerpt
In the remote Pilbara region, the battle to find gold in the unforgiving terrain divides the Ferrels as the Goldtimers are exposed to a catastrophic fire before they even begin to hope that selling their site could net them $100,000.
Searching for gold divides some teams and unites others in the hottest gold rush on earth, Australian Gold Diggers debuts on Viasat Explore every Thursday at 21:00 with double episodes and a repeat of the premiere 4 episodes on Tuesday, September 6, at 7:20 p.m.
First, though: a little history lesson. The first “gold rushes” appeared around the 1850s all over the world, but the most prosperous regions turned out to be in Australia, especially the state of Victoria. It was there that the biggest piece of gold was discovered – Welcome Stranger.
Since then the hunger for gold has never abated, and to this day we hear of huge pieces being found here and there all over the globe. When it comes to real discoveries, however, it is the Australian continent that remains the champion. For this reason, the list is subject to change at any time.
1. Welcome Stranger
Weight: 72 kg
The largest piece of gold for Australia is also the largest in the world. It was discovered by two English prospectors in 1869 and is so large that they had to split it in two to measure it properly. The gross weight is almost 110 kg, and its refined net weight reaches a dizzying 72 kg. It didn’t last long in its original form because when the owners sold it – for about $666,000 – it was immediately melted down and sent to the Bank of England in bullion.
2. The Welcome
Weight: 68.2 kg
The second largest gold nugget was discovered by a group of 22 prospectors in 1858. It is located in a tunnel 55 meters long and roughly shaped like a horse’s head. The discoverers in Ballarat, Victoria were among the first to use steam powered machinery.
According to legend, the owners of the tunnel went to lunch and left a mercenary with a pickaxe to dig out the piece. When he realizes what he has stumbled upon, he faints. When they return from lunch, they think the man is dead. Then one of them jumps up and turns him over, and thus notices the short sticking out of the wall, whereupon he also faints. Welcome sold for £10,500 and was later exhibited at the Crystal Palace in London’s Hyde Park.
3. Lady Hotham
Weight: 44 kg
The third largest gold nugget in Australia – and seventh in the world – was also discovered in Ballarat, Victoria – in September 1854. It was found on Dalton’s Flat near Canadian Gully, in a deep gallery filled with water. The gold diggers managed to get it out of the 40 meter deep shaft by digging another meter down. It was named after the wife of Sir Charles Hotham, then Governor of Victoria, who happened to be visiting the area just as the gold piece was discovered. It was valued at £13,000, which equates to over £1.8 million in today’s money.
The question remains: will the prospectors in Australian Gold Diggers make the list? See in the new 7th season – every Thursday, from 21:00 only on Viasat Explore.
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