A Brand New Law

In nineteenth-century NSW, owning horses and cattle was common. An important asset for many, losing a horse, cow or bullock could mean losing your transport or livelihood. Livestock was a favoured target of thieves who were only abetted by patchy fencing and primitive communications. In the 1860s, newspapers fretted that cattle stealing had reached ‘alarming […]

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Bullocks Resting

Painting of a bull sitting on the dusty red earth while other cows stand in a shaded area of the background; strokes of paint are applied liberally, rich in dark reds and browns

Splotches of rich auburn resting on red earth, smears wandering in small patches of shade, and above all, heat. The only thing missing is the drone of flies above the steer’s head. Bullocks Resting by John Salvana (1873-1956) captures a pastoral image that has long captivated settlers in Australia. Pastoralist art presents country life, particularly […]

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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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What’s in a Comb?

Inspiration comes from many places. Sometimes an object’s story is much bigger than simply what it is or did. Hinting at what inspired Headlie Taylor’s (1883-1957) innovative agricultural inventions, this comb also reveals the story of the dynamic Henty community the designer was a part of. This comb is known as a short comb, most […]

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The Cows Are Gone

When Max Watters (1934-2020) was drawn to the simple beauty of this setting, the cows that once grazed the grassy paddocks at the Merton dairy, near Denman in the Upper Hunter Valley, were long-gone. Max was a lifelong resident of Muswellbrook, a twenty-minute drive from Denman. He lived his entire life in a modest timber […]

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At Home on the Hunter

On an unknown day in 1976 Max Watters (1936-2020), an established Hunter Valley landscape artist, headed north from his home in Muswellbrook in search of inspiration. After taking the Glenbawn Road, east of the small town of Aberdeen, Max crossed the Hunter River (Coquun). He navigated the wind in the road that bends around undulating […]

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Moulder’s Mason Apron

This decorated apron is typical of the regalia worn world-wide by the Freemasons, and from the early eighteenth century. This era saw Freemasonry evolve from a craft-based fraternity exclusive to freemasons, to a moral-based organisation exclusive to men. Freemasonry, resembling this historic change, was transported to Australia by British-origin migrants in the late-eighteenth century. Throughout […]

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