A tribute to John Houstone, John Wade
David Scott Mitchell (1836 –1907) had a private income which allowed him to pursue his collecting and become the greatest Australiana collector. About a century after British settlement, Mitchell identified the need to collect Australiana that was, at the time, rapidly disappearing. His collection of somewhere between 40,000 and 70,00 items, cluttering his house in Darlinghurst, ultimately formed the nucleus of the Mitchell Library in Sydney, opened in 1910. John Houstone likewise identified the need to collect and document – albeit on a less grand scale than Mitchell – the convict and free silversmiths who worked in early 19th century Australia.