The 'Slipper' was a gold nugget found in 1875 by miners Marks and MacKenzie. The 46 ounce (1.4 kg) nugget was found at a depth of three feet in Crusoe Gully, at Sandhurst (the former name for Bendigo), Victoria. As with most gold nuggets found during the Victorian gold rush, the Slipper was melted down so that its gold content was in a more easily traded form.
Geologists from the Victorian Geological Survey and Mines Department wanted to keep a record of these significant and valuable finds, so convinced many finders to allow moulds to be made of their nuggets prior to melting. 160 of these gold rush era nugget replicas are now part of Museums Victoria's collections.
We do not know exactly when the model M 20327 was produced, but it was transferred from the Industrial and Technological Museum to the National Museum of Victoria (the predecessor to Museums Vitoria) between 1899 and 1901, making it at least 118 years old. In a separate transfer from the Geological Survey of Victoria in 1987, Museums Victoria received the plaster mould from which the model M 20327 was originally produced. The mould and model were reunited after being apart for at least 86 years!