Keeping a Cool Head

When the shingled roof of the kitchen at Bathurst hospital caught fire in 1878 and destroyed the whole building, the town lamented the fact that it ‘did not posses an efficient trained band ready for duty by day and night.’ At a time when buildings were heated by coal and lit by gas and candles, […]

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Tripping Through Time

Still from a psychedlic video where two colonial men, recoloured to appear pink and magenta, sit in front of a tall mountain with a security camera peering at them from above

In her six-minute video animation, I give you a mountain (2018), the artist Joan Ross takes us on a ride through the Enlightenment. A journey back in time to the origins of the modern museum, we slowly progress through mossy grottoes and caves filled with exotic objects and creatures. Along the way, we are introduced […]

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Under the Bonnet

Handmade of high-quality fabrics and in the typical style of the period, this pleated grey bonnet was one of Martha Ann Cotterell’s (née Tarrant) (1825-1891) most prized possessions. Martha grew up in the middle of London, where she met Thomas Cotterell (1825-1903). On their wedding day in 1848, Martha was dressed to the latest fashion, […]

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The Peculiar Print

Standing in front of this portrait of Queen Victoria you might wonder why there are vertical lines running through it but stepping to either side solves this mystery. A step to the right reveals a portrait of Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, and a step to the left reveals a portrait of his wife, […]

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A Trunk Full of Memories

Fashionable in its day, this travelling trunk certainly saw a lot of the world during its lifetime. Its journey began when it was purchased in Bombay, India, by Beatrix ‘Trixie’ Straw (1906-1985) and her husband, Arthur ‘Jack’ Straw (1893-1983), for their honeymoon in Paris and Venice. Trixie and Jack were married at the British Embassy […]

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Goodbye, Goodluck, and God Bless

This handwritten letter was discovered among the contents of Beatrix Edith Straw’s travelling trunk, an object donated to the Woolpack Inn Museum in Holbrook. Beatrix, better known as Trixie, was born in Parel (a suburb of Bombay, India) on 2 July 1906. She grew up as the eldest of eight children in Parel and later […]

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The Scarlet Cloak

The Macarthur Cloak, this striking scarlet-coloured opera coat, was made in England in 1817 from Australian-grown merino wool. It was commissioned by the Macarthur family of Elizabeth Farm, near Parramatta, Sydney. John Macarthur (1767-1834) is widely recognised as a pioneer of the Australian wool industry, though he first worked in the colony as a soldier […]

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