An Alchemical Ornament

Silver goblet etched with a placid illustration of a refinery

One step removed from the sweltering heat of the forge, smoke billows from a chimney between towering trees. Small figures are at work around the refinery – surveying, shoving, and squatting. Steep slopes of earth disappear into the distance of a spotless sky. This sterling silver goblet was made by William Edwards (1819-1899) and retailed […]

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A Lucky Few

Close up of simple silver mug, slightly oxidised, with an inscription "HERE'S LUCK"

Before the 1850s, Australian silverware was incredibly scarce. The nature of settlement, including a low population and lack of materials, meant silversmithing was an extravagance. That is, until the discovery of silver, especially in Broken Hill, made it possible for a few talented craftsmen to become prolific manufacturers. Joachim Wendt (1830-1917) was one of the […]

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Power and Perfume

The mid-nineteenth century gold rush brought smiths and jewellers to Australia intent on reaping the benefits of a newly prosperous Australia. In 1858, Henry Steiner (1834-1914), a German silversmith, immigrated to Adelaide, South Australia, for that very reason. Now known as one of Australia’s most prolific silversmiths, much of his success was made possible by […]

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A Man of Many Parts

This photograph shows Herbert Norman Palmer (1857–1931) in his Mounted Police uniform, minus hat, and is thought to have been taken upon his retirement in 1917. Palmer joined the NSW Mounted Police in 1891 and was posted across a number of stations in the Greater Hume region including Albury, Gundagai, Wagga, Tumut and Coolamon. In […]

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An Unusual Token of Esteem

As a retirement gift this silver ink stand made by Barker Brothers of England is perfect. But it is much more than a retirement gift, it is a symbol of the high regard in which the recipient was held and the exercise of commonsense in uncertain and difficult times. The ink stand was presented to […]

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Picturing Tracker Tommy

Aboriginal Police Tracker ‘Tommy’ worked in Broken Hill from the late 1890s-1910. His employment and skill as a tracker was renowned and widely reported in the press. Tommy’s police work also saw him employed at the Silverton Police Station, along with other Aboriginal trackers. Moreover, his time at Broken Hill coincided with a craze for […]

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Slaughterhouse Rules

Officially opened on October 6 1908, Broken Hill’s council-owned abattoir was built to provide better sanitation than that provided by existing private or backyard slaughterhouses. In September 1909, keen to show his constituents that the public money was well-spent, Mayor Alderman Long toured the facility with The Barrier Miner’s photographer, James Wooler. Wooler captured the […]

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United They Stood

Broken Hill is known to the outside world as a stronghold of trade unionism, in addition to being the place where Australia’s first thirty-five hour week was granted. This reputation and milestone in the history of employment relations in Australia was the result of the historic strike action taken by miners in 1909 and 1919 […]

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Ground-breaking Australian Design

Designed by renowned colonial silversmith Henry Steiner (1835-1914), The Silver Tree epergne stands at more than half a metre high, features twenty figures on its base and has an illustrious history. It got tongues wagging at the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880–81 and cemented Steiner’s place in Australian design history. Possibly lured by the gold […]

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Discoverer of Rare Mineral Murdered

Raspite is recognised as a form of the lead tungstate mineral Stolzite and was named after the boundary rider and prospector, Charles Rasp, by the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Rasp’s 1883 claim on the Mount Gipps Station in New South Wales’ far west led to the founding of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP). […]

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