More than 150 years after the original rush, gold fever is again gripping Ballarat after a pair of amateur prospectors uncovered a reef worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in historical diggings.

Ballarat is part of Victoria’s “golden triangle” where the precious metal was discovered in 1851, triggering a rush of prospectors from around the world.

Armed with top of the line hand-held metal detectors, locals Steve Glasson and Russell Sanderson made a discovery three months ago to rival the luck of their forebears.

On a regular prospecting trip the two “just picked the patch of ground,” said Glasson, a great-great grandson of one of the original Ballarat gold diggers.

“This particular day we sort of hit the jackpot,” he said.

Together they spent two weeks discreetly digging out almost 90 nuggets, the largest weighing in at 115 troy ounces.

The haul has since been sold to a private buyer for an undisclosed amount.

The two have refused to disclose the location of the reef, saying they stumbled across it in “the general Ballarat area”.

“What a lot of people don’t realise is how big the prospecting industry is,” Glasson said.

“There’s been billions of dollars (of gold) found mainly in Victoria and Western Australia – we got gold there too.”

His love of gold developed while panning in the Ballarat creeks with his father from the age of 10.

Glasson’s great-great-grandfather, who arrived in Ballarat from Cornwall during the gold rush, worked as a miner in England.

“I suppose it’s in the blood – I love it,” he said.

“We’ve found a lot of gold over the years but not this large amount in one area.

“It’s something you aim for, I’ve been doing it 30 years and the new technology helps an awful lot.”

Both prospectors plan to hang up their gold detectors for the summer months because of the hot ground and “uncomfortable” conditions in the bush.

While not an exact science, successful prospecting requires serious study, Glasson said.

“There’s a lot of concentration, a lot of study, I’ve got all the maps and books and quite frequently visit the Mines Department,” he said.

“I get a lot of information off the internet.”

Unsurprisingly, Glasson said a lot of people have expressed interest in prospecting since the discovery was publicly announced on Monday.

“They’ll be all coming out of the woodwork now,” he said.