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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

As announced in the May issue, the 2024 National Tour will be held in and around Adelaide, South Australia. The organising committee has already secured visits to several private collections belonging to South Australian members and these will be combined with enhanced viewing of some sig...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
Tasmanian Aboriginal (Pakana) Shell Necklaces
By Anne Schofield   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Antique jewellery dealer Anne Schofield recently exhibited a collection of rare Aboriginal shell necklaces from Tasmania, which were on show in June at her Woollahra gallery... Tasmanian Aboriginal shell work is unique, the patterns and shell types indicate the maker and also reflecta place or places, the ...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
Wedgwood: Master Potter to the Universe
By Timothy Roberts   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Curator and historian Tim Roberts previews a new exhibition on the English ceramics firm Wedgwood, founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759, and linked with the British colonisation of Australia through its design and manufacture of the ‘Sydney Cove Medallions’ in 1789. These were made from Sydney clay sent...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
The Great Kangaroo Wood Mystery
By R A Fredman   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Bob Fredman highlights an interesting discovery, English cabinetmakers using Australian rose mahogany as an exotic furniture timber in the early 19th-century. He suggests that, in the dearth of mentions of rose mahogany in early Australian furniture, there may be a major void in our knowledge and in our collect...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
The York Street Synagogue Ark
By Jana Vytrhlik   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Two early arks held in the museum collection of The Great Synagogue in Elizabeth Street, Sydney are impressive examples of Australian furniture. Their distinct Egyptian style could have been a source of inspiration for the architectural style of the York Street Synagogue (1844). In her search for the...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
The Squatter’s Delight, or ‘A Man’s Chair’
By Robert Griffin   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Robert Griffin makes the case for the introduction of the squatter’s chair – a robust easy chair with swing-out leg rests – as an idea imported from India in the early 19th century. These chairs found a home on the shady verandahs of homesteads, particularly in Queensland and NSW, where the lan...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
Book Review: Ron Radford, John Glover. Patterdale Farm and the Revelation of the Australian Landscape
By Scott Carlin   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Leading colonial artist? Or leading early 19th-century British artist working in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land? Clearly the latter. Ron Radford, John Glover, Patterdale Farm and the Revelation of the Australian Landscape reveals how John Glover (1767–1849), a leading artist...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
A Gift for the Queen: Andrew Lenehan’s Casket
By Yvonne Barber   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Zealous colonists wanted those ‘at home’ to know how economically successful the British colonies in Australia had become. When gold was found in 1851, the Governor of New South Wales sent specimens of the first gold, in boxes made using selected colonial timbers by Irish-born cabinetmaker Andrew...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

The year is off to a great start. The National Tour conducted in the ACT was fully subscribed with the maximum 40 members and state events have already been held in Tasmania and Victoria. Part of the Victorian event was a curator-led presentation by Emma Busowsky prior to viewing the Bendigo Art Gall...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Scrimshaw – real or fake?
By Colin Thomas   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

Scrimshaw, the ancient art of the mariner is a most important part of our heritage which is very collectable. At times, scrimshaw achieves very high prices at auction in Australia and internationally. This article relates solely to Australian scrimshaw which is different in many ways to American or in...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Exhibition: Charles Rodius, State Library of NSW
By    |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

The first retrospective of ‘19th-century Australia’s best unknown artist’, Charles Rodius (1802–1860), bringing together 92 original watercolours, drawings and prints, will be shown at the State Library of NSW. While the host library holds the largest collection, other notable examples are held in the N...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Book review: Tokens of Love, Loss and Disrespect 1700–1850
By Peter Lane   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

The subject of this book is coins
that have had their surfaces engraved, repurposed to communicate private and public messages. It covers the whole spectrum of engraved coins created
in Great Britain and forms a cultural backdrop of Australian culture, which pre-gold-rush era was predominantly
a ...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
National tour to Canberra and Regional NSW
By Peter Crawshaw   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

The March 2023 Australiana Society National Tour of Canberra and regions was a great success. Forty people from NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland enjoyed three days visiting diverse collections and houses. Each venue gave us a different perspective and appreciation of Australiana, in d...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
I’ve been Framed
By R A Fredman   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

Bob Fredman suggests old picture frames as another area of affordable and rewarding collecting. As well as being potentially useful, these nostalgic items often have an interesting story to tell, as Bob demonstrates with these examples, all found in Queensland.

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
The workshop of Sydney silversmith William Kerr
By Yvonne Barber   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

A descendant of his sister Rebecca wrote about William Kerr in Australiana over 20 years ago, presenting new material obtained from family sources.1 With the help of other descendants, Yvonne Barber expands on this earlier work, beginning with the apprenticeship of William Kerr. She provides det...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Early Sydney silver flatware
By Christine Erratt   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

Four early Australian silver flatware items – two spoons and two forks – engraved with the three initials ‘WEB’ present a challenge warranting research. Whose engraved initials (WEB) are they and when were the items made and engraved? Christine Erratt offers an answer. Four flatware1items with...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Australiana: Designing a Nation, Bendigo Art Gallery 18 March to 25 June 2023
By Emma Busowsky   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

Bendigo Art Gallery has drawn on its collections, the Australiana Fund, other collections and especially the National Gallery of Victoria to mount a new survey of Australiana from British settlement to today. Obviously it cannot cover every aspect of Australiana, nor every way artists and crafts...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Australiana Society Tour of Bendigo and Castlemaine
By Robert Steven   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

Victorian chairman Robert Stevens reports on a November 2022 tour to the Central Goldfields region.

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

Your Board trusts that you have enjoyed exploring our new website, taken the opportunity to review it in detail and researched past articles. Members’ feedback has been most encouraging! As with any change, there is always the odd issue; we are doing our best to fix them and will further enhance the site base...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
The 2022 Peter Walker Fine Arts Writing Award
By Megan Martin   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

I began last year’s judge’s report with the observation that the annual Peter Walker Fine Art Writing Award, established in 1999 to encourage authors to write for Australiana, had achieved its objectives. The four issues of Australiana published in 2022 confirm that judgement and show that th...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
An Itinerant Australian Colonial Billiard Table
By John Wade   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

The National Museum of Australia in Canberra has purchased an Australian billiard table, carved in high relief with multiple panels of scenes of colonial life, and its matching marking board. Its price of $1,100,000 sets a new record for a piece of Australian furniture. The NMA is not known for collecting Austr...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Peter Harley: Queensland Folk Wood Carver
By Glenn R Cooke   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

A quite remarkable amount of wood-carving was produced in Australia, in the framework of the Arts and Crafts movement, at the beginning of the 20th century which is, and remains, unidentified. If we don’t have a provenance we can look at stylistically similar works, such as Queensland’s Harvey School,...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Adelaide House, Alice Springs: an outback house museum
By Judith McKay   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

Curator Judith McKay focuses on a unique house museum in the Northern Territory, originally planned in 1920 by the Rev. John Flynn of Flying Doctor fame as a model outback hospital. Its most remarkable feature was a passive ventilation system designed to cool the building on the Coolgardie safe princ...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Spanish Craftsmen at New Norcia Abbey in Western Australia part 2: John Casellas
By Dorothy Erickson   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

Spanish monks established the Benedictine mission at New Norcia in Western Australia in 1846. Following on from her article last year on Isidro Oriol,1 Dr Dorothy Erickson concludes her series on the Spanish craftsmen who worked on buildings and furniture for the monastic community. Here she examines...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Kitchen inspirations: the recipe books of a Queensland flour manufacturer
By Megan Martin   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

As far as eating paraphernalia goes, Australiana has previously covered dining tables and chairs, sideboards, ceramic plates, silver table ornaments, Splayds and even tea towels. Megan Martin demonstrates that it is about time we looked at recipe books, particularly as these Queensland examples ...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Unlocking the Story of Doulton’s ‘Australia 1886’ Vase
By Jon & Yvonne Douglas   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

Queensland collectors Jon and Yvonne Douglas explain how their collecting of Doulton ceramics developed and how, as they read more and more about their passion, their interests deepened. Here they present their research into one particular example with Australian connections, a vase made in 1886 for the Colonia...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Thank you to the members who attended the 2022 Annual General Meeting in person or via zoom. Thank you also for the show of support to me as President and to the other Directors who were elected.

I particularly thank Peter Crawshaw for his nomination and subsequent election to the Secretary’s position. Ly...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
William Knox D'Arcy: Art Collector and Patron
By Dianne Byrne   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

William Knox D’Arcy (1849–1917) is remembered today as an indefatigable adventurer, who through financial daring and
extraordinary good fortune, became the ‘founder’ of the modern oil industry in the Middle East. However, there is another
facet to his life, as the ex-Rockhampton solicitor who became a...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
I Opine it’s a ‘Pine’
By R A Fredman   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

From the foundation of the colonies, local cabinetmakers experimented with using the wide range of native timbers. Bob Fredman discusses a chest of drawers, most likely made about 1900 in Bundaberg, Queensland and probably by a local cabinet maker of Germanic heritage, who liked to use contrasting timbers with ...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
The Paris Exposition Universelle, the Suez Canal and a Gold Sphinx Brooch
By John Hawkins   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

November 2022 marks the centenary of the discovery of the virtually intact tomb of King Tutankhamun, who reigned from about 1332 to 1323 BC. The pharaoh’s burial goods created a worldwide sensation focussed on ancient Egypt, which has long fascinated Europeans, partly because of its Biblical connections and p...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
Arnott’s Kookaburra – a Mystery Biscuit
By Paul Gregson   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

We sometimes forget that some artefacts are ephemeral. Paul Gregson reminds us that a biscuit can be a nostalgic piece of Australiana, though it may only exist now in images.

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
Queensland to a T Collection and Exhibition, State Library of Queensland
By Peter Spearritt   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Prodigious Australiana contributor Glenn R. Cooke is well known through his professional interests in Queensland art, decorative arts and social history. But that does not define Glenn; he loves ballroom dancing and gardens, as well as pursuing a sideline in collecting artefacts relating to his home stat...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
H.A. Nielsen, Art Cabinet Maker, of Port Douglas, North Queensland
By John Wade   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Many colonial woodworkers, often trained in Britain or Europe, came to Australia and discovered the vast variety of native timbers suitable for carving or for making furniture and timber articles. Jewellery ‘book boxes’ made from several contrasting North Queensland timbers and bearing the stamp of ‘H.A. ...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
Mary Jones: a Mysterious Artist in Queensland
By Timothy Roberts   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Brisbane painter and art teacher Mary E. Jones has escaped recognition for 130 years. She would not be alone in that fate: over time, many aspiring painters and their works disappear from history. Timothy Roberts reveals some details about Miss Jones’s career and her impact as a woman artist in Brisbane betwe...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
Above the Trenches? Cast-metal Aeroplanes of the 1940s
By Peter Hobbins   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Polished-brass and chrome-plated aeroplanes were popular World War II mementoes – but how were they made and why did they take off in Australia?

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
Considering a Curious Carving
By Glenn R Cooke   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Artists draw inspiration from many sources. Glenn Cooke examines at how a 20th-century Queensland wood carver took his design inspiration from an historical French pottery plaque some 400 years old, finding what seems to be the exact example he used.

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Book reviews
By Anne-Marie Van de Ven and Michael Lech   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

BOOK REVIEW BY MICHAEL LECHRuth Lane Poole: a woman of influence. Canberra Museum and Gallery, 2021, 58 pages. BOOK REVIEW BY ANNE-MARIE VAN DE VENChristine Stewart,
Collits’ Inn: Uncovering the Past, Tellwell, Australia 2021 
ISBN 978-0-2288-3720-6

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
President’s Update
By    |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

It is indeed pleasing to see members honoured for their services to the community. In the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Mrs Phyllis Murphy of Melbourne and Mr Alan Landis of Sydney were recognised with Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) respectively. Both richly d...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
An American in the East
By John Wade   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

In America as in England, tea drinking became highly fashionable in the 18th century. The duty imposed on tea imported into Britain’s North American colonies became a catalyst for revolution, highlighted by the Boston Tea Partyin 1773. Many discrete meetings of revolutionaries were fuelled by nothing more inc...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
H C Simpson and his popular art
By Glenn R Cooke   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

While the artist H. C. Simpson (1879–1966) depicted subjects such as Mount Warning in northern NSW, his output is emphatically linked with the early years of the ‘Gold Coast’ and specifically the resort towns of Coolangatta, Currumbin and Tweed Heads. Although his work is not held in particularl...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
1950s souvenir jewellery and art with Indigenous motifs
By Christine Erratt   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Finding more examples of the silver brooch with Indigenous motifs that she discussed in our May issue, Christine Erratt delved further into their history. In the National Archives of Australia, Christine uncovered the 1954 design registration applications.
Six different designs, of which five were inspired b...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Early school samplers from Van Diemen’s Land
By Nicola Kissane   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

As part of their education in useful arts, schoolgirls sewed their own individual samplers, which are also important indicators of progress in educational methods and reach. The format is fairly standard, with the letters of the alphabet in either or both lower and upper case and basic numbers, plus the gi...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Thomas Griffiths' book box construction
By David Bedford   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Thomas Griffiths (1856–1943), a Welsh blacksmith and wheelwright, emigrated to Queensland to start a new life as a ‘skilled migrant’, at first clinging to his old profession in the Ipswich area. When the Queensland railway network was expanding, he saw
a new business opportunity and opened a sawmill at...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Designs by Murdoch at the House of Georges
By James Stanton   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Fashion designer Margaret Murdoch (1912–1999) has been eclipsed by other members of the Murdoch family. In 1938 she went to London to gain experience in fashion design. Her move to the fashion capital of Paris on the eve of World War II led to disruption of her career path, with two stints of internment ...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Splayds – ‘the runcible spoon that captivated the world’
By Yvonne Barber   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Invented in 1948 and manufactured 'from the early 1950s, Splades or Splayds were a favourite gift for shower teas, weddings and Mothers’ Day in 1960s and 1970s Australia. We were vaguely aware that they might be an Australian innovation, but that wasn’t part of their advertising – they were prom...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Thomas Griffiths, a Queensland woodworker
By John Wade   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Thomas Griffiths (1856–1943), a Welsh blacksmith and wheelwright, emigrated to Queensland to start a new life as a ‘skilled migrant’, at first clinging to his old profession in the Ipswich area. When the Queensland railway network was expanding, he saw a new business opportunity and opened a sawmill at Wy...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Timber trays – fun and functional
By R A Fredman   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

When furniture or crib board collecting becomes too hard, because of either their cost or scarcity or both, the average Australiana collector can turn to drinks trays. They can turn to drinks too, but this article is just about the trays.

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Australiana Society Sydney Basin Tour, March 2022
By Peter Crawshaw   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

Numbers were limited on the NSW Branch’s recent successful tour of the Sydney Basin, so one of the organisers, Peter Crawshaw, reports on it for members who were not able to take part in person, especially those who live outside Sydney. Colonial furniture collector Bob Fredman was honoured to be asked to give...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Madame Henry, Juliette Lebeau-Lopes-Rastoul-Henry
By Yvonne Barber   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

Visions of a Republic. The work of Lucien Henry, the lavishly illustrated 2001 book produced for an exhibition on the designs and art of Lucien Henry (1850–1896), devotes more words to describing a photograph of the couple’s apartment in Darlinghurst (plate 1) than it does to describing his wife Juliette. Y...

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The Australiana Society acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.