Saturday, 7 April 2012

Australian Gold!

Back in October 2008, I wrote about John ("Jack") CONDRON, who shared with his three fellow miners in the discovery of an enormous gold nugget called the Poseidon nugget ("John CONDRON strikes it rich"). The nugget, which was discovered by the four men in December 1906 at Tarnagulla, central Victoria, Australia, weighed 960 ounces (over 26 kilograms).

Since then, I have been in correspondence with a descendant of one of the other miners, Frederick EVA. That descendant, Tracy Rogers, has kindly provided me with various pictures and other information about the discovery, including the pictures reproduced here. Apparently Frederick EVA used his share of the money raised by sale of the nugget to buy a hotel on the Loddon River, but according to family lore the hotel was swept away in a flood. So the question is, what did John CONDRON do with his share of the money, and what happened to him? Perhaps there are living descendants of John CONDRON reading this blog! I'd love to hear from you.

The lower picture shows the four miners who shared in the discovery of the Poseidon nugget: Frederick EVA (left), Sam WOODALL (right), and the two in the middle are John CONDRON and George BROOKS (but I don't know which is which man).

Tracy also informs me that the picture of the four miners and the nugget they found featured on the cover (see picture below) of a record by Australian country rock band Stars, which formed in 1975 and disbanded in 1979.

What became of John ("Jack") CONDRON? According to newspaper coverage of the discovery, John CONDRON and Sam WOODALL were miners from Newbridge.  In the Australian Electoral Rolls on, there were two John CONDRONs recorded in Victoria in electoral rolls for 1903. One was in Wangaratta, Victoria, living with or near a Maria CONDRON and Robert CONDRON: this John CONDRON may have been born in County Cavan, Ireland, in 1833 and have died in 1908. The other is in Newbridge, where we know the miner came from: this Newbridge John CONDRON is listed as a labourer, and is living with or near a Jane CONDRON ("house duties"), and a Thomas and Catherine CONDRON (both listed as "old-age pensioner"). It's possible that Jane is John's wife, and Thomas and Catherine are his parents. From later electoral rolls, it looks as if John and Jane CONDRON may have moved to South Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria: a couple of that name are there in Cardigan Street in 1909, in Drummond Street in 1914, and in Little Elgin Street in 1919 (by which time John CONDRON is listed as a "foreman" rather than as a labourer) and 1924.

Possibly the same John and Jane CONDRON later moved to Glenhuntly, Victoria. In 1936, a Jack CONDRON (labourer) is living there with Jane CONDRON, John Desmond CONDRON and Martin Leonard G. CONDRON. And in 1942, possibly the same couple are listed there again, in Ulupna Road: John CONDRON (factory employee), Jane CONDRON (home duties) and Alice Margaret G. CONDRON (typist). If this is indeed the John CONDRON who found the Poseidon nugget, the money doesn't seem to have raised him from the life of an employed labourer.

Do you know what became of the John CONDRON who shared in the discovery of the Poseidon nugget? If so, please let me know.  I can be contacted by leaving a comment on this blog, or by emailing condran[AT] (replace "[AT]" with "@"). Thanks!


dano425 said...

Thanks for your tireless and fascinating research, John.
I still cannot find where my Great-Grands come from. I think it is possible that they are from Cty. Tipperary, but I don't see that on your map.
When you sent me the list of 12 of Andrew & Margaret(Smith) Condron's children, I have only traced, Theresa ( Peter Kerney), James, and Daniel(my Grand-Father)to Philly.
There were two childre by the name of James and John, but I don't have any info on them.
As far as the Nugget $$, I bet those other 3 scoundrels, swindled our beloved Uncle Jack ! Do we have any Lawyers in the Clan ?
Thank you again, I am absolutely thrilled, to find out all "Condron" history.

Michael Thompson said...

Thanks Dano !

I'll see if I can find any more about this family.

Michael Thompson said...

Thanks to a lead provided by correspondent Karen, I have now been able to identify the John CONDRON of Poseidon nugget fame, and to start constructing his family tree. I shall post about this in the near future.

Michael Thompson said...

Dano, regarding your CONDRONs from Tipperary, see my blog post of January 21, 2013, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary".