The Hand of Faith Gold Nugget

The Hand of Faith Gold Nugget

Sitting in the back of a dark, old-fashioned
Las Vegas casino sits, rather unremarkably,
the largest gold nugget on display in the
Slowly spinning on a table in a place not
uncoincidentally named “The Golden Nugget,”
the so-called “Hand of Faith” gold nugget
is not as glamorous nor as shiny as cartoon
gold nuggets would have you believe.
While the rock gets visitors, the foot traffic
does not match its monetary value – which
is said to be worth approximately $5 million.
So, how did the largest displayed gold nugget
on the globe end up here in Las Vegas?
Here’s the tale of the Hand of Faith’s
discovery and its journey to Sin City.
It had been a rough few months during the
fall of 1980 for the Hillier family traveling
around Australia.
For the last two years, the young family of
six had been driving up and down the country’
coast in a bus they had named “Gus.”
Father Kevin earned money for the family doing
odd jobs, but that type of work had dried
up due in large part to severe back injury.
Mother Bip had just given birth and had her
hands full dealing with a new baby.
In a nutshell, the family was broke, with
very little food and in dire straits.
In this state, they settled in a small former
gold rush town called Kingower near Victoria.
Much like in America (See: What Sparked the
California Gold Rush?), Australia experienced
their own gold rush in the mid-19th century.
While glittering stones had been found prior,
it was on February 12, 1851 that the rush
really began with the discovery of gold near
Bathurst in New South Wales.
Within months, people from all over the world
had flocked to the island continent in search
of their own riches.
Within decades, the population of Australia
nearly doubled from the influx of gold seekers
from across the globe.
However, also like America, the market just
as quickly collapsed.
By the turn of the 20th century, the gold
fields were more or less abandoned, with the
recent immigrants moving to the rapidly modernizing
Despite this, and even years later, there
were reports of lucky people coming across
small gold nuggets.
Discoveries in the late 20th century led many
to think that the fields still had enough
gold in them to forever change the fortunes
of those who found it.
After his back injury, Kevin Hillier was advised
by doctors to spend as much time as he could
So, Kevin and his wife Bip took up strolling
through the former gold fields with a metal
In Bip Hillier’s book about her family’s
story, she describes constantly praying for
them to find gold.
She thought her prayers had been answered
when Kevin came home one night with a small
gold pebble, but it turned out to only be
worth enough to buy a second metal detector.
This wasn’t exactly fortune-changing gold.
But a few nights later, Kevin supposedly dreamed
that he found an endless gold nugget that
was so big that it could not be dug out of
the ground.
The next morning, he drew a picture depicting
his dream on a piece of paper and had his
friend Russell sign it as a witness.
Whether coincidence from having gold on his
brain or indeed prophetic, on September 26,
1980, the dream would come true.
After lunch, Kevin and Bip were detecting
in opposite directions when Kevin screamed.
Rushing to him, Bip found her husband on the
ground sobbing while kneeling in front of
a tip of a gold nugget that couldn’t be
pried from the ground directly.
As a result, they began to dig… and dig
and dig until they finally reached the bottom.
Lifting it up, they realized what they had
found was history.
Weighing an astounding 27.2 kilograms (nearly
60 pounds), it was the largest gold nugget
ever found by a hand held metal detector and
the second largest discovered in Australia
in the 20th century.
In a recent interview, Bip claimed that the
couple had some heavenly intervention, “People
will say it was all coincidence and that’s
But that’s my Father up there…and he’s
interested in everything we do.”
To them, the rock looked like a hand making
a blessing.
So, Bip and Kevin named the gold rock the
“Hand of Faith.”
Scared to tell anyone, they rushed it home
and soaked the sixty-pound chunk in the sink.
The kids all helped to clean it with toothbrushes.
That night, the family slept as the gold sat
in a kiddie pool under the parents’ bed.
After a few days of debate about what to do,
they decided to hand the rock over to a trusted
friend to take it back to Melbourne for a
delivery to the government.
A few days later, at a televised press conference,
Victorian Premier Dick Hamer announced the
However, the Hilliers were not there.
They were hold up in a motel room watching
the press conference on television, refusing
to be identified.
Said one of the Hillier kids, “Even for
years afterwards, we kids never brought it
It took several months for the nugget to sell
(according to Bip, this was the government’s
fault and caused the nugget to dip in value
as the hype died down a bit), but finally
in early February of 1981, with the help of
Kovac’s Gems & Minerals, it was sold to
the appropriately-named Golden Nugget Casino
in Las Vegas for about a million dollars (approximately
$2.7 million today).
In the years after, Kevin and Bip continued
to walk those same fields with their metal
detector in hopes of finding what they described
as the Hand of Faith’s companion – the
“Foot of Faith.”
They never did and Kevin Hillier died in 2014.
At the funeral, the original metal detector
and a replica of the giant nugget were placed
next to his coffin.
His ashes were spread at the site of his discovery.
The metal detector is now stored in Bip’s
Although Bip’s now in her late 70s and her
husband is no longer alive, she still thinks
about going back out to search.
“I do wonder,” she told the Monthly in
late 2016, “what might still be out there.”

100 thoughts on “The Hand of Faith Gold Nugget”

  1. About 10 years ago my family went panning for gold in Helen, Georgia… I ended up finding three tiny flakes of gold. LOL! I went to Las Vegas in 2001, in one of the casinos they had $1 million in cash on display (behind bulletproof glass of course… LOL)

  2. If they got a million dollars for it, that is amazing. That's over double the gold price per ounce when they sold it.

  3. A reason to make a video on laurii thorne is that he fought in Three different armies: the finnish in the winter war and ww2 the german one in ww2 on the eastern front and in the american in vietnam

  4. It crazy that you come out with this video when just yesterday I found my mother's metal detector she had stored away for a couple of years. Who knows maybe this video is a sign that I need to get out there and use it. Find the torso of faith.

  5. So Jesus and Baby Jesus helped them find a rock while letting children be raped and murdered. Yeah, that sounds about right.

  6. Good show, big fan of your channels. I would love to see you do a bit about what did Europe and other parts of the world smoke before tobacco? My bad if you have already, thanks.

  7. So, did they get the whole million dollars or did the government take money. Why did they give it up to the government?

  8. Yeah, they should keep looking, I mean tomorrow someone might discover the Pinky Finger of Faith or the Hemorrhoid of Faith.

  9. "He set out on a quest to find a perfect companion to the nugget: the Foot of Faith…he never did and died in 2014." Simon's delivery of that is hilarious.

  10. Maybe recheck. It was Orange N.S.W and the Australian gold rushes (yup, more than one) was far bigger than the Californian one:

  11. You need to do a Today I Found Out on Brazilian, Pedro Rodrigues Filho. Serial killer of serial killers who killed 70 people

  12. Like the videos, Simon – but the Premier was Dick Hamer (Hay-mer) not Hammer. It literally did not occur to me until now that his name could be said that way – but of course I was only 11 years old in 1980.

  13. To anyone wondering: Yes, they got the money. They bought a house, built another for Kev's mum, went on holidays, and gave a lot away to their friends and family. Bep said later she regretted not spending more on the kids, coz at the time she didnt want them to become spoiled brats. I think the implication is there wasnt anything left for an inheritance, as a lot was given away to Kev's 6 siblings, and Bep's 11 siblings.

  14. Actually, this nugget is only #3.

  15. Gold was found in Bathurst in 1849, 1851 was when gold was found around Ballarat and western central Victoria.

  16. I used to be a pizzaiolo in the Golden Nugget around 2008 in Grotto Ristorante. I had walked by that nugget many times but it is said the one on display is a replica. I wouldn’t doubt it.

  17. What is the difference between a “producer” & “executive producer” on a movie? Also why do modern movies have so many?

  18. Well done we went out the the same area for a long weekend got lost a couple times had some beers got sore backs and feet and came home broker than we went out ha ha but we had fun stay safe

  19. It feels to me that placing the metal detector and the picture in the coffin was inappropriate. The gold more than likely improved their life, but they lived a good amount of time before that. Was that SO life-changing that it deserved to accompany them in death? …

  20. They had this at the Golden Nugget in Mississippi last winter and its a lot larger then you would imagine but it was also just kinda there in the hallway not really displayed prominently

  21. On a trip to Vagas (from the UK.) I couldn't help but be shocked how understated the display was. just in a corridor as I recall (but it was many years ago.) I'm not sure what I expected, but it didn't wow me maybe the way it should have.

  22. Simon, interesting video as always, but Vegas is not a Scottish girl. 'Las' is pronounced with an 'A' as in father, not as in lass.

  23. Very, very fitting Calvin and Hobbes strip: (view after watching video)

  24. So that's it? No curse? The trusted friend actually did what he/she promised? Just some piddling government incompetence that ended up costing someone money? Not much here, but with a few tweaks you could turn it into a made-for-tv movie I suppose.

  25. When the day you will find out that your video is just your face and text and the whole channel is just you reading the article or the novel from elsewhere. Even the way you read is damn fast and unpleasant to listen. Please learn or find out that other channel's content better than you. And at least copy their style or something before you get too old.

  26. It's pronounced king-gau-wuh ("gau" rhymes with plough") and it's not near Victoria, it's in Victoria (which is a state). And as well as the Hand of Faith being discovered there, there was also the Blanche Barkly, which was the largest gold nugget ever found at the time and is still the third-largest in history.

  27. I've been to the golden nugget casino and I have seen this nugget in person. Its in a dark area on the main floor. Nothing there really points out to go see this multi million dollar golden nugget.. If we had not taken the wrong path from the elevators to the street, we would not have seen it. It's a shame really.

  28. thank you so much for the heart warming tale of the "nugget"
    Now I will turn my stereo back on , an finish listening to 'stranglehold' by Ted Nugget

  29. Donald J. ( for jackass) Trumputin is "an idiot pretending." I am entitled to such an opinion as I was foolish enough to have voted for him. To the youth of our nation I apologize as you will be the victims of his irreparable damage. And I now realize that Fox news is equally responsible as well for spewing bias, daily lies, and bombast. I pray for all of you as you are destined to be cast into the depths of hell by the almighty.

  30. The Golden Nugget is in my hometown (It's not Las Vegas). And I've seen the Hand of Faith. I never thought a gold nugget could be so big. Thing is about as long as my arm!

  31. At Red Lake we had a nugget called "The Football" due to its shape and size, 40lbs, the geology department kept it on a desk.

  32. Hi, I am Kevin’s son Brendon hillier. Your story is really close to actual evenats. I do remember the gold nugget was placed in a baby bath then put under there bed. I don’t think they slept much that night. Let me know if you want to know anything further.
    Kind regards from Brendon

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