A Place of Peace and Companionship

The peaceful setting depicted here is painted in oils directly onto the east wall of the old Rockley Mill. The artist, Edmund Ernest Edgar (c.1872–1965), completed the mural in October 1932 in readiness for the first meeting of the Rockley Branch of Toc H, a Christian social organisation and movement. Although the first Toc H […]

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Under the Skin

Exposed organs, popping eyeballs, and the lumpy, snaking texture of a brain might not be a sight you’d like to start the day with. However, for those in the medical profession, understanding what goes on under the skin is often essential to providing proper health care. Historically, doctors often used cadavers to provide insights into […]

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Painful Ideal

We know Ethel May Snow (née Lynn) (1900-1965) of Glen Innes in northern NSW, preferred to be called May because, in her portrait, she wears a brooch with that name at her throat. In the studio photograph, May is impeccably dressed in the idealised fashion of the 1910s. It was a style that would soon […]

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Women’s Work

The World Wars unfolded as both harrowing battlefields and captivating cultural stages, with one of its greatest conflicts becoming the evolving role and recognition of women as they contributed to Australia’s military effort. During WWI, women’s direct involvement in the military beyond Australian soil was limited to a few thousand nursing roles. While some women […]

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Thirsty Business

Standing the test of time, these ceramic bottles have remained in a near-pristine condition for over a hundred years. They tell the story of Narrabri’s famous cordial maker, Septimus Faulkner (1859-1936). In the late 1800s, a young Faulkner arrived in Narrabri to work for Edmund Fuss, a chemist who had turned to cordial making. Under […]

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Guadalquivir, Guadalquivir, Guadalquivir

Published by Angus and Robertson, this ‘Australian Copy Book’ was the fifth in a series of eleven, all aimed at training the hands of young Australians in good penmanship. The ability to write quickly and neatly in a ‘fair hand’ was a valuable asset in the labour market for office and bank workers. Phrases like […]

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Crowning Glory

The slouch hat is a widely recognised Australian military icon. It’s distinctive design originated with the Victorian Mounted Rifles, whose soldiers wore an ordinary bush felt hat turned up on the right side. This prevented the brim from obstructing movement during drills, when a long firearm was transferred from the ground position to the shoulder […]

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A Commanding Presence

All together, it took nine hours. Nine hours spent in the shuddering, claustrophobic hull of a WWI-era submarine. Cautiously travelling beneath an underwater minefield to then torpedo a battleship, only able to return to the safety of the open ocean via the same treacherous stretch of water. What type of person is capable of such […]

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In Her Own Right

One imagines the clacking of the typewriter may have been particularly urgent on the 20th of September, 1915. Just a month earlier it had been reported that Lt. Norman Holbrook (1888-1976), the first naval recipient of the Victoria Cross in WWI, had been wounded. The details were vague but Shire Clerk John Taylor must have […]

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Humanity in War

Red Cross stitched into, and staining, yellowed fabric

When Norman Victor Reid went to join the AIF at Sydney on 11 February 1915 he was still 11 months short of the minimum age for enlistment (19). So, he took with him a letter from his father giving him permission to join the Army Medical Corps and go to the front. Norman was accepted […]

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