Pretty But Practical

This day dress and petticoat were owned and worn by Mrs Ann Chellew nee Milburn (1872-1948) when a young woman around the turn of the twentieth century. Ann was the daughter of Janet Miller and James Milburn, who migrated to Australia from Scotland and England.  Arriving with her family (in 1852) Janet was a baby, […]

Read More…

Table Heirlooms

These napkin rings belonged to the Wilson family of Berry.  James C Wilson (1834-1901) emigrated to Australia in 1857 and found work on the Berry Estate, before co-founding Wilson and Co. Store, establishing other business interests that included coal mining, and becoming Berry’s first Mayor.  Around 1880, with wife Robina nee Tait (1849-1918), the Wilsons […]

Read More…

Rocky Beginnings

They said the new mine shaft was so free of projecting rocks that you could not hang your hat on any part of it. It was March 1887, and two hundred guests were gathered for a bush banquet at the new Young Wallsend Colliery, near Teralba. They toasted the future success of the new mine […]

Read More…

No Dough Needed

Richard Sneddon drove his horse and cart to the back door of the bakery of the West Wallsend Cooperative Society and filled his baskets with fresh loaves, which had been baked and neatly stacked on trollies the previous afternoon. Around the town, Richard left bread at the houses of co-op members, and collected the small […]

Read More…

Waiting to Happen

In the Aberdare Extended colliery pit where 34-year-old Thomas Brunskill was mining, it was dark, dusty, muddy, and noisy. About 1.30pm, without warning, several large chunks of the prized dense black coal detached from the roof of the confined space and struck Thomas, badly injuring his neck and shoulder. The year was 1927 and he […]

Read More…

Tally Tokens

On the floor of the dark, dusty, pit the miners shuffled about loading skips with the recently sorted chunks of coal. As each pair of miners filled a skip, they attached a string carrying a small piece of leather bearing their number. Then the winding mechanism hauled the skips carrying the rich black ore up […]

Read More…

Keeping the Fizz In

Imagine the sweltering summer days in West Wallsend, when tired and dusty miners crowded into the Clyde Inn (est c. 1893) on Carrington Street to quench their thirst. Many ordered beer, but others had a taste for the fizzy lemonade, soda water, ginger ale, and ‘fruit champagne’, which the bar-keep William ‘Bill’ Smith (licensee 1899 – […]

Read More…