Passion, like love, attracts and is attractive. Full of longing and desire, a passion for someone or something – intense love or an outburst of anger – can become so strong it's barely controllable. If you feed this raw appetite, passion can tip into obsession. Once aroused, in all its fervent keenness, passion can be something to relish.
Ted Pritchard and his passion for steam power
Ted Pritchard was inspired by the potential of steam and worked tirelessly to develop a steam powered car and a stationary steam engine.
From a young age, Ted worked alongside his father, Arnold, in the family’s Melbourne factory. With a belief in the superiority of steam motoring, the pair began converting vehicles to steam power in the 1950s. Pritchard engines proved more economical to run and were environmentally superior to combustion engines. One vehicle, a converted 1963 Ford Falcon, was so popular that Ted took the car to the United States in 1972 and demonstrated it to several large motor manufacturers.
The oil shortages of the 1970s galvanised the Pritchards, who believed that there should be less reliance on petroleum-based fuels. Ted focused on the production of a second-generation steam engine that could be mass-produced for use in the new Pritchard Steam Car.
After initial support from the government and motoring industry, the Pritchards experienced financial difficulty. In spite of the performance and environmental promise of the engine, they were unable to realise their dream of the mass production of a steam car. They were forced to abandon the project and declare bankruptcy. Despite the setbacks, Ted’s passion for steam power did not waver.
In his later years, and with the support of his wife Marion, Ted developed a stationary steam engine for use in the developing world. The S5000 can burn a vast range of fuels, producing electricity, hot water, heat, and sterile steam (which can be used in organisations such as hospitals). The engine was not ready for distribution when Ted died in 2007, but the project continues at Uniflow Power, a company based in Perth.
A small steam powered ‘donkey engine’ made for Ted by his father in the 1940s is on display in the Eternity gallery.
Flora Pell and her passion for cookery
Flora Pell was probably Australia's first 'domestic goddess'.
Born in rural Victoria in 1874, she started teaching cookery at the age of 15 and went on to become a first-rate, published and celebrated cook.
She wrote three highly regarded cookbooks: A Sunshine Cookery Book with 50 dried fruit recipes for the modern table; Miss Flora Pell's Tested Cookery Dishes and Valuable Home Hints, and her most popular, Our Cookery Book, which was reprinted more than 24 times.
Our Cookery Book was used as a textbook in Victorian schools from 1916 to 1929. Alicenne Stevens recalls: 'my mother and her sisters swore by her book and I still have my mother's battered copy. Mum used to say she liked her because the instructions were so clear, almost basic'.
Lorna Roberts, Nelva Roberts and Valerie O'Bryne's mother used the book at school and said, 'Flora Pell was our bible'.
In 1923 Flora Pell travelled to the United States on a study and lecture tour of cookery schools. Flora then had a segment on Melbourne's 3LO radio about cooking. She also spoke to business, women's and charity groups on 'the domestic arts'. In 1924, after rising through the ranks of the Victorian Education Department, Flora became Inspectress of Domestic Arts Centres.
Flora Pell defied social norms. Not only did she have a successful career but she also stepped outside the traditional role for women.
However, Flora still believed that a woman's most important role was as mother and homemaker, where they were 'in a position to wield tremendous influence on the mind and body, hence upon the family, society and the nation'.
Alan Puckett and his passion for art
The 1970s saw the emergence of a culture of painted panel vans and customised motor bikes in Australia. Alan Puckett was one of those artists, airbrushing images of long hot summers and erotic imagery from his base in Sydney.
Puckett was commissioned to create an exciting and sexy object specifically for the Eternity gallery. He painted a Harley Davidson Sportster in the theme of passion, with white roses and butterflies twisting on a cherry-coloured background.
Graeme Clark and his passion for hearing
Professor Graeme Clark is the foundation professor of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne and director of the Australian Bionic Ear Institute. Motivated by his father's deafness, Clark has devoted the greater part of his professional life to researching and developing a device that brings hearing to the profoundly deaf by means of electrical stimulation of the hearing nerve.
During the development of the multichannel cochlear implant, Clark was faced with seemingly insurmountable barriers. He endured criticism and doubt from the scientific, medical and deaf communities and embarked on an inexhaustible appeal for funding to support his research. The first implant recipient was 48-year-old Rod Saunders in 1978 and following further research and refinement the cochlear implant became commercially available in 1982. Thousands of Australians have since received a Cochlear implant.
Parts of the bionic ear designed by Clark are on display.
Marie Byles and her passion for bushwalking
Marie Byles immigrated to Australia from England in 1911 at the age of 11. She was one of the first women to graduate in law at the University of Sydney and was the first to set up practice as a solicitor in Sydney. She was also a committed Buddhist, writing many books on the subject and establishing the Buddhist Society in Sydney with her friend Leo Berkeley.
The Eternity story focuses on Marie's passion for the bush and the fledgling conservation movement of the 1930s and 40s. She helped establish Boudi National Park in 1935 and, along with Paddy Pallin, established the Bush Club for people who loved the bush but were unable or unwilling to meet the stringent requirements for entry to existing bushwalking clubs.
Eternity features Maria's bushwalking compass.
Stories previously on display
Passion for making violins
Passion for the rights and welfare of blind people (early 1900s)
Devoted his life to commemorating Australian aviators Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm (1930s)
Passion for her football team (contemporary)
Passion of men for sheds (contemporary)
Passion for Japanese culture during the Second World War (1939–45 and after)