A decendant of a Melksham man who discovered gold in Australia has launched a fresh appeal for information on his family.

James Nash, the first man to strike gold in Queensland, Western Australia, was born in the Melksham area in 1834. His father Michael was also recorded in the 1841 census as living in Beanacre.

While James went on to seek his fortune down under, his brother Thomas stayed in the town. Now, Thomas’ great, great grandson is seeking information on his ancestors, and has appealed for anyone with details of the Nash family to get in touch.

Also called Michael, he retired to Alicante in Spain but is keen to find out about his family’s origins. He said: “From time to time I look for any new scraps of information that I can add to the Nash family tree. “Up to now there has been quite a lot regarding the family on the James Nash line, most of this coming from Australia, but I would love to know more about James’s father Michael.”

Melksham Without Parish Council, which covers Beanacre, has already spent time looking into the Nash family history. Three years ago the council learned of a statue of James Nash in Queensland, where he discovered gold near the Mary River in 1867. He left school at nine and began working on a farm, but emigrated to Sydney when he was 23. There he alternated between labouring work and working on several goldfields in New South Wales. It is understood Michael Nash senior was a farm labourer in Beanacre, and was married to Elizabeth, née Prosser. It is not known what became of James’ parents, or his brother Thomas who decided to stay behind in England.

Anyone with any information about the Nash family can call the parish council on 01225 705700.