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Appendix 3: Acquisitions - National Historical Collection (page 2 of 3)

Material acquired and approved by council 1 July 2003 – 30 June 2004

Bessie Bardwell

Log cabin patchwork quilt and wicker sewing basket and contents

The quilt was made by Jane Smith and her five daughters in the early 1900s from the scraps left over from the family sewing.

The social role of quiltmaking was important in fostering community friendships and pride in domestic skills. Several of Jane Smith's daughters became dressmakers and continued with the needlework they learned at home from their mother. However, needlework has often been undervalued. This is perhaps a result of the assumption that mending and dressmaking are menial, everyday tasks rather than skills with any intrinsic economic or artistic value. Yet a reassessment of women's work has contributed to a renewed interest in domestic needlework. Quilts are acknowledged as a significant part of Australian women's history and are one of the few tangible legacies that women leave from that period in time.


Edmund Dicks

Two plaster busts and two plaster low relief sculptures

This collection comprises a plaster bust of Truganini (1812-1876), two plaster low relief sculptures in a wood frame of Truganini and William Lanney (1834-1869), and a plaster bust of Oliver J Nilsen CBE (1884-1977).

The sculptures are excellent examples of veristic art associated with portrait sculpture produced in the late 19th and early 20th century. They were created by the donor's father Edmund J Dicks, in the 1930s and 1940s. Truganini and William Lanney lived in Tasmania in the colonial era where they associated closely with the white settlers. They both actively worked for the advancement of the Indigenous people in Tasmania and were erroneously considered the last man and woman of their race.

Oliver J Nilsen CBE started his own business in 1916 and built it into a major electrical and radio broadcasting business, which is ongoing. He was a member of the Melbourne City Council for 30 years and Lord Mayor from 1951 to 1952.


Judy James

Three outfits

Made by Mrs James' great grandmother, Rosina Humphries (nee Grey) and Rosina's daughter, Gertrude Humphries, in the 1880s and 1920s, this collection includes a christening outfit, consisting of dress, bonnet, and cape, (1880s) as well as a trousseau nightgown (1920) and a black silk dress with gold embroidery, separate slip and detachable collar (1921) made for Gertrude's wedding in that year.

The connection between milestone moments and the wearing of a particular garment carries great significance. The christening gown represents the importance of rituals that reflect the rights of passage, and how great importance is placed on the clothing, as well as the ceremony. The dress has become an heirloom in the Humphries family.

The French term 'trousseau' is a reflection of the early dowry tradition of preparing for marriage by accumulating clothing and household items to bring in to the new household. New garments were an essential feature of the trousseau. The nightgown is an example of the societal attitudes and issues that still prevailed in the 1920s when Gertrude was preparing for marriage. The fact that Gertrude made the nightgown herself tells a lot about her family's social status and finances at the time.


Lifeline Moss Vale

A filet crochet doyley

This doyley has a plain linen centre surrounded by 12 swastikas and is an example of 'women's work' of the early 20th century when sewing and lace making were an integral part of most women's lives. Today the social role of needlework is better understood as an important aspect of domestic material culture.

The swastika was a popular good luck symbol which was used in embroidery for centuries but fell out of favour after the beginning of the Second World War. Swastikas often appeared in filet crochet patterns between 1900 and the 1930s.


Mary Massey

18 items of women's clothing and accessories

This collection comprises clothing typical of Edwardian fashion (1900 to about 1914)

Particular Edwardian items include two black skirt and blouse sets, two blouses, a petticoat, two evening dresses, two driving jackets and driving hats, an opera jacket, a parasol and a pair of gloves. A linen nursing pinafore, two items of infant's clothing and a flapper dress are also included.

The wearer of the Edwardian clothing and nursing pinafore was a Tasmanian woman named Mary Massey. She was the matron-in-charge at a quarantine hospital during the 1903 smallpox outbreak in Launceston. The clothing in the collection reflects Mary's comfortable station in life, a range of activities undertaken by her, and her competence outside the domestic realm.


Judy and Ian McPhee

Early 20th century trousseau

This collection is an integrated set of 150 items all made by Muriel McPhee, between 1916 and 1918, in preparation for her wedding and subsequent married life. The trousseau includes clothing, household linen and several lengths of lace in crochet, netting and hairpin.

Muriel was in love with and perhaps unofficially engaged to marry a man who eventually went to France in the First World War, and was killed. When he died, Muriel rolled her trousseau items in clean sugar bags, flour bags and sheeting and put them all away, unworn and unused. She never married and never left home. The trousseau was found in situ after her death in the 1980s. The trousseau is not quite complete, the wedding outfit was also normally regarded as part of the trousseau but this gap is poignantly expressive of Muriel's story and that of many women of that era.


Bessie Evelyn Pickering

A glass male syringe with box

The syringe belonged to Mrs Pickering's mother, Alice Victoria Hannah Eaton (nee Yoxon) who was a nurse with the Volunteer Aid Detachment. She treated and cared for Australian servicemen returning from the First World War, and later those infected by the great influenza epidemic of the late 1910s and early 1920s. The incidence of sexually transmitted disease was high among Australian troops during the First World War and many returned infected with syphilis and gonorrhoea. Nurses of the Volunteer Aid Detachment used urethral syringes such as this one to administer prophylactic and curative treatments to infected servicemen in an attempt to prevent active cases being discharged into the civilian population.


Rankin Family

Silk wedding dress

The dress, made by Caroline Spencer and worn at her wedding to Richard Woodhouse on 15 May 1870, is a rare and significant example of a simple handmade 1870s Australian wedding dress worn at a rural wedding in a relatively remote location. It provides a strong connection to some of the earliest European settlers in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales and to the harsh life of many 19th century rural families. The dress is representative of bridal fashions for rural or working-class brides in the mid to late 19th century. It is also associated with the inundation of old Jindabyne in the 1960s for the Snowy Mountains Scheme, and the subsequent relocation of an entire community and their possessions to new Jindabyne.


Elizabeth Sanderson

Satin and lace debutante dress with accessories

Accompanying the dress and accessories is the official photograph of debutante, Elizabeth Sanderson, her invitation to Court and the dinner menu for the evening. Miss Sanderson wore the dress and associated accessories in July 1939 when she was presented to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

The Sandersons were wealthy landowners who had owned a vast property named Billabong, stretching out along the Murray River. Families who enjoyed such high social status often maintained strong ties with the English establishment and it was appropriate for young women like Elizabeth to make her debut and be presented at Court and experience her first London 'Season', thus marking her official entry into society. Miss Sanderson spent five months in England, enjoying a high society lifestyle of balls, theatre, fine dining, dress fittings and weekend visits to country estates. Her presentation at Court was among the most significant events in her life.


Audrey and Rob Wells

Two corsets manufactured by Jenyns

Audrey Wells is a trained corsetier and the corsets were part of the stock she kept when she sold her business. They were all manufactured just prior to 1981 and Audrey fitted and sold these styles as recently as the mid 1980s.

The corsets document two significant aspects of women's social history - the changing fashions of everyday life, and the way in which the changes to daily life influenced fashion. These corsets are good examples of the types of undergarments worn by many women during the 20th century. Although an emphasis on health and physical exercise and the development of more flexible materials signalled a decline in the use of boned corsets and tight-lacing, some types of foundation garment continued to be an integral part of a woman's wardrobe until the late 1960s. This collection illustrates that some women continued to wear such garments until at least the late 1980s. The other significant feature of these corsets is the fan-lacing. This enabled the wearer to fasten the corset without assistance and signifies a shift in domestic arrangements whereby most women no longer had live-in servants.


Ian Browne

Double-barrelled Schofield 12 gauge hammer gun

This gun was owned by Ian Browne's great-great-grandfather, Richard Brooks. Richard Brooks settled in the Monaro region and the gun was passed down through the family and used primarily to assist with the eradication of dingoes, rabbits, foxes and for the destruction of cattle.


Felicita Carr

Picnic basket

This basket, including assorted plastic picnic equipment, was used by the Carr family from 1945 through to the late 1970s

The adaptation of the suitcase with leather straps for use as a picnic basket represents one of the flow-on effects of war rationing and the continual re-use of everyday objects. The increase of motor vehicle ownership particularly after 1948 and the end of petrol rationing in 1949 made the picnic a popular family activity.


Pat Carrick

Three radio collars

These were fitted to buffaloes during the latter stages of the Northern Territory's Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This program, which was also run in other parts of Australia, was aimed at producing a disease-free cattle and buffalo industry in Australia. Campaign stock officer Pat Carrick read an article about the elimination of goats in Hawaii through the use of radio-tracking collars. This involved capturing and then fitting one animal with a radio-tracking collar so that it could then be tracked back to where the rest of the herd was hiding, enabling them to be located and shot. By 1990 the collars were being fitted to feral cattle. Eventually Mr Carrick experimented in producing his own extra robust collars that were designed to be fitted to large buffalo bulls.

This collar represents the changes in stock management in northern Australia that occurred in response to the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign, particularly the fencing of properties and elimination of free ranging herds. This brought about the most radical transformation of the industry since its inception, and ensured its viability by bringing it up-to-date with modern export standards.


Ron English

Snake bite kit

The first aid treatment for snake bite has changed over the years and the treatment has often been based on little scientific evidence. The application of permanganate of potassium, the incising of the wound and the tying of a ligature were popular first aid treatments in the 1920s and 1930s. This form of treatment has since been proven to cause more potential harm to the patient than the actual snake bite. The current form of snake bite first aid the pressure/immobilisation method was developed in the 1970s.


Peter Evans

Post-1939 fire dugout plan

The fire-refuge 'dugout' is a cultural feature of the Victorian forests and is almost unique to Victoria in this continent, and perhaps in the world. Structurally, it was derived from the trenches of the First World War. This plan was produced by requirement under the new Victorian Forests Act passed as a result of the devastating 1939 Black Friday bushfires.

Dugouts were holes in the ground or in the side of an embankment, supported by corrugated sheeting and timber props and heaped over with earth. There was one narrow opening shielded with a blanket that was constantly kept wet from the inside. Water and first aid equipment were stored inside the dugout.

The plan was intended to standardise the construction of dugouts in an attempt to minimise loss of life in extreme fire situations. It is significant as an example of the ways in which people in Australia have attempted to live with fire as an ongoing threat to life and property and forms part of an evolving non-Indigenous response to fire.



Portion of the No. 2 West Australian rabbit-proof fence

This is significant as a component of an extraordinary effort to halt the western spread of European wild rabbits.

In the early twentieth century the Western Australia Government built a series of rabbit fences across the Australian continent from north to south. The advance of rabbits beyond the No. 1 fence-line, before its completion, necessitated the construction of the No. 2 fence. By 1908 three fences stood in opposition to the invasion. The fences only slowed the process of rabbit colonisation. By the 1920s rabbits plagued the state's southern districts.


Lionel Merrett

Wrought iron survey marker

This was one of 11 made to mark the southern limits of the subdivision of Victorian Mallee country in 18841887 by surveyor Tom Turner. As it was not needed to mark this line Turner placed it on the western boundary of the subdivision which was the boundary line between Victoria and South Australia.

Australia has a multi-layered administrative structure. The primary division is into states and territories but there are also local governments, regional bodies and local subdivisions. A necessary component of these administrative units is a boundary line to define the limits of each. These are defined legally by legislation and physically by marks placed on the ground. This survey marker was part of the physical marking of the western boundary of Victoria and the Mallee country subdivision.


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