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Cranbourne meteorites


In 1854, two large iron meteorites were discovered near Cranbourne, Victoria. In 1860, they were identified as meteoritic, arousing international scientific interest.

The Cranbourne No 1 mass, weighing 3500 kilograms, and the Cranbourne No 2, weighing 1525 kilograms, were at that time among the largest known meteorites. The owner of No 1 donated it to ‘Mother England’, and by purchasing No 2 for £300 in 1862, the British Museum (Natural History), London, acquired both meteorites.

Prominent colonial scientists, led by the National Museum director Frederick McCoy, were outraged at the loss of such important specimens. Through negotiation and to ease political tensions, the British Museum donated the No 2 mass to the National Museum of Victoria. The No 1 has been exhibited in London since 1865 and remains the centrepiece of that museum’s meteorite display.

The Cranbourne No 2 mass, 1525 kg
 The Cranbourne No 2 mass, 1525 kg

 Detail of the Cranbourne No 2 mass, 1525 kg.

 Cranbourne meteorite, 1862


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The Cranbourne No 2 mass, 1525 kg. Twelve pieces of the iron meteorite were discovered between 1854 and the early 1930s, in the region spread out along a flight path stretching from Beaconsfield in the north-east to Langwarrin in the south-west.
Registration No. E 16873
Image source: Museum Victoria

© Museum Victoria Australia