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Victorian Collections -

Talking Shop: Ballarat in Business and City Life at Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute

27 Jun 2019

Curated By

Amy Tsilemanis, Curator, Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute

153255 items


153255 items

Tape Recorder

Yarrawonga and Mulwala Pioneer Museum , Mulwala

Grundig 7" Reel to Reel Tape Recorder

Photograph: PTC students 1965

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE),

Black and white photograph of 15 students in business attire sitting in three rows of seats, possibly a graduation, on reverse there is a note 'Preston TC 29/8/65'. No other identifying elements

Folio - Money of the internment camps.

Tatura Irrigation & Wartime Camps Museum, Tatura

Blue open fronted foolscap sized folio with printed matter in plastic sleeves.

Historical information

Material printed in Renniks Australian Coin and Banknote Guide, 1980.

Inscriptions & Markings

Money of the Internment Camps.


Stawell Historical Society Inc, Stawell

Historical information

Deep Lead Bunyip Bank Rail Crossing being up-graded 1933- Buggy in front of bridge.


Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Warrnambool

Plane, Round type marked Gleave Manchester. Owner D Parry Size 14

Book - Encyclopaedia of Gold and Silver Coins of The World

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Warrnambool

Encyclopaedia of Gold and Silver Coins of The World Publisher: A M Smith Date: 1886

Historical information

This item is from the ‘Pattison Collection’, a collection of books and records that was originally owned by the Warrnambool Mechanics’ Institute, which was founded in Warrnambool in 1853. By 1886 the Warrnambool Mechanics’ Institute (WMI) had grown to have a Library, Museum and Fine Arts Gallery, with a collection of “… choice productions of art, and valuable specimens in almost every branch and many wonderful national curiosities are now to be seen there, including historic relics of the town and district.” It later included a School of Design. Although it was very well patronised, the lack of financial support led the WMI in 1911 to ask the City Council to take it over. In 1935 Ralph Pattison was appointed as City Librarian to establish and organise the Warrnambool Library as it was then called. When the WMI building was pulled down in 1963 a new civic building was erected on the site and the new Warrnambool Library, on behalf of the City Council, took over all the holdings of the WMI. At this time some of the items were separated and identified as the ‘Pattison Collection’, named after Ralph Pattison. Eventually the components of the WMI were distributed from the Warrnambool Library to various places, including the Art Gallery, Historical Society and Flagstaff Hill. Later some were even distributed to other regional branches of Corangamite Regional Library and passed to and fro. It is difficult now to trace just where all of the items have ended up. The books at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village generally display stamps and markings from Pattison as well as a variety of other institutions including the Mechanics’ Institute itself. RALPH ERIC PATTISON Ralph Eric Pattison was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, in 1891. He married Maude Swan from Warrnambool in 1920 and they set up home in Warrnambool. In 1935 Pattison accepted a position as City Librarian for the Warrnambool City Council. His huge challenge was to make a functional library within two rooms of the Mechanics’ Institute. He tirelessly cleaned, cleared and sorted a disarrayed collection of old books, jars of preserved specimens and other items reserved for exhibition in the city’s museum. He developed and updated the library with a wide variety of books for all tastes, including reference books for students; a difficult task to fulfil during the years following the Depression. He converted all of the lower area of the building into a library, reference room and reading room for members and the public. The books were sorted and stored using a cataloguing and card index system that he had developed himself. He also prepared the upper floor of the building and established the Art Gallery and later the Museum, a place to exhibit the many old relics that had been stored for years for this purpose. One of the treasures he found was a beautiful ancient clock, which he repaired, restored and enjoyed using in his office during the years of his service there. Ralph Pattison was described as “a meticulous gentleman whose punctuality, floorless courtesy and distinctive neat dress were hallmarks of his character, and ‘his’ clock controlled his daily routine, and his opening and closing of the library’s large heavy doors to the minute.” Pattison took leave during 1942 to 1942 to serve in the Royal Australian Navy, Volunteer Reserve as Lieutenant. A few years later he converted one of the Museum’s rooms into a Children’s Library, stocking it with suitable books for the younger generation. This was an instant success. In the 1950’s he had the honour of being appointed to the Victorian Library Board and received more inspiration from the monthly conferences in Melbourne. He was sadly retired in 1959 after over 23 years of service, due to the fact that he had gone over the working age of council officers. However he continued to take a very keen interest in the continual development of the Library until his death in 1969.


The Pattison Collection, along with other items at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, was originally part of the Warrnambool Mechanics' Institute’s collection. The Warrnambool Mechanics’ Institute Collection is primarily significant in its totality, rather than for the individual objects it contains. Its contents are highly representative of the development of Mechanics' Institute libraries across Australia, particularly Victoria. A diversity of publications and themes has been amassed, and these provide clues to our understanding of the nature of and changes in the reading habits of Victorians from the 1850s to the middle of the 20th century. The collection also highlights the Warrnambool community’s commitment to the Mechanics’ Institute, reading, literacy and learning in the regions, and proves that access to knowledge was not impeded by distance. These items help to provide a more complete picture of our community’s ideals and aspirations. The Warrnambool Mechanics Institute book collection has historical and social significance for its strong association with the Mechanics Institute movement and the important role it played in the intellectual, cultural and social development of people throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. The collection of books is a rare example of an early lending library and its significance is enhanced by the survival of an original collection of many volumes. The Warrnambool Mechanics' Institute’s publication collection is of both local and state significance.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label on spine with typed text 730 SMI Front endpaper has a sticker from Corangamite Regional Library Service

Honour Board

Creswick Museum, Creswick

Wooden Board with 80 small glass panels holding photographs. Four wooden panels listing 157 names of the pupils in gold lettering with red cross against the names of the soldiers who were killed.

Historical information

Pupils who listed World War 1.

Inscriptions & Markings

Top Creswick School Roll of Honour Botton: A tribute to the Students of this school who served the Empire. The Great War 1914-1919. Photos in LHS 1. JS Anderson 2 A Anderson 3 R Anderson 4 A Beckerleg, 5 R Bell 6 A Bernado 7 J Bernado 8 EG Booth 9 M Boradale 10 R Boradale 11 R Boradale 12 WJ Bowley 13 FA Canning 14 HGN Cassell 15 E Clarkson 16 A Clausen 17 V Crougey 18 HG Dean 19 W K Dean 20 CV Gardner 21 WG Gardner 22 RJ Gardner 23 EH Goats 24 R Gray 25 B Gray 26 AB Grose 27 CT Grose 28 BA Grose 29 JB Grose 30 W Hadler 31 W Hartley 32 GT Hewitson 33 CC Hewitson 34 W Howie 35 R Howie 36 C Howie 37 WH James 38 P Kennedy 39 WJ Lambert 40 A Lambert 41 F Lambert RHS 42 H Lambert 43 WH McFarlane 44 VH Malone 45 PJA Malone 46 J Maughan 47 J Mendham 48 AE Merriman* 49 AC New 50 T New 51 W Parkes* 52 R Pasco 53 FH Pavarno 54 EP Pavarno 55 AB Peters* 56 G Petrie* 57 T Porter 58 G Porter 59 F Porter 60 H Praetz 61 R Praetz 62 S Reeves 63 W Sherriff 64 P Short 65 J Skewes 66 N Slade 67 JC Smith 68 J Still 69 GW Tait 70 DG Toohey 71 A Tonkins 72 SH Townshend 73 E Townshend* 74 HE Townshend 75 H H Townshend 76 S Treloar 77 RJ Ward 78 WE Westcott* 79 FC Whitfield* 80 AC Wisby* Writen Names T Anderson, T Arnold, S,D,G & W Barclay, G Beaucort, B Bentwich, J Berry, E&C Blake, S&A Bush, AF, WJW & R, Bowley, J,F & HB Brady, Alex Bowley, L Brotherton, JC Caddy*, J Canning, SF Carlyon, R Chaulkey, F Clausen, F*,G & J Clifton,V Creati,B Crosbie, H* & V Clover, A Chandler, J&G Davidson, S Dean, W Denny, W Digby, C Douglas D,H* & J Drummond, G Donald*, JP Dooley, W*&A Edmends, Percy Ellis, P,SW & T Ellis, A Egglestone, W & R Fricker, A,C & Clive Falla, G Fricker, A* & W Gibson, H Gardner, EJA Gray, WEC, N & H Grose, H Green, M Glass, FP Grady, W Hadler, W Hartley, N&T Hammon, H & J Harris, W & L Hartland, R Hawkey, PA Hertford, T Hogo, R Forrestor, A,F & N James, J Jebb, Alex,A & FT Johnson, WE Jordan, P Jory, E Jane, HC,RJ & JW Kelly, A King, S knight* M Lang(Sister), Clint'n Lavas, Mat Lang, C&TJ Liddicoat, RG* & ED Lindsay, W Little, L Lucas(navy), W & C Mann, WHS Merriman, J Mitchell, S Northcott, S New, W Nicholas, V Northcott, L Orange, JT & HC Packham, E Pearce, E Pilling, J Praetz, R Williams, AM & F* Robertson, A Romeo, J Rowe, H Russell, H & C Woods, C Sandford, G Sherriff, W & F Smith, J & R Snell, A & J* Spence, W Stephenson, J A Still, W,WL & AJ Surredge, J Shaw, Jas Wisby, A Treeby, F Tregonning, FL & W Treloar, A Tremearne, R Tilt, H Vague, A Wade, H Wall, BT,IW & J Ward, J,M & O Whatman, D Wilson, H & A Wood, DG Wormald, A Wright, L Watt, A Whitfield*.

Music Book - The Australian Music Books no. 60

Coal Creek Community Park & Museum, Korumburra

Paper back music book.Titled The Australian Music Books Number 60 Piano book/ Salon Album by Allan and Co LTD The Block Collins Street Melbourne.

Newspaper excerpt - 110 years' care for women and Day Queen dropped by

Queen Victoria Women's Centre, Melbourne

Newspaper article Melbourne Yarra Leader page 4. Colour photograph portrait of two people looking towards the camera, Kathleen Atkins and Russell Atkins.

Photographs – Kiewa Cres Mt Beauty. Circa 1993. Set of 10 colour photographs

Kiewa Valley Historical Society, Mt Beauty

Set of 10 colour photographs of Kiewa Cres Mt Beauty. Circa 1993 showing retail services and streetscape of the time.

Historical information

Established in 1946, during the construction of the Kiewa Hydro Electric Scheme, the township of Mt Beauty was developed by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria to provide additional accommodation for the thousands of workers during the construction of the country’s second largest hydro-electricity scheme. 
Although these towns were built as temporary accommodation for the workers and their families, many stayed after the scheme finished. Combined with the influx of European migrants, with their rich cultural backgrounds, all played a major part in shaping the future character of the Mount Beauty, the Kiewa Valley and Falls Creek. The Bright Council, now the Alpine Shire took over the control of the township in 1960. This relatively young town of Mount Beauty, along with the surrounding townships of Falls Creek, Bogong, Tawonga South and Tawonga, are all part of a prospering tourist area with excellent services, accommodation, food and a wide range of recreational activities available for all ages. According to Shire records, the population of Mt Beauty has grown from 1,500 in 1981 to 1,800 in 2016 with a projected increase to 2,000 in 2013


The photographs taken around 1993 show a prosperous commercial centre catering for both locals and the needs of visitors. It provides a pictorial history of the changes which have occurred in the retail/commercial district of Mt Beauty over the years. It also demonstrates the attention paid by Alpine Shire towards providing accessible recreational green space around the town centre.

Inscriptions & Markings

No markings


Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists,

Vectis, with mahogany handle, retractable, no pivet notch to fix the handle in position, Stamped on verso "ARNOLD LONDON'".

Historical information

Most likely collected and donated by Dr Frank Forster


Tatura Irrigation & Wartime Camps Museum, Tatura

Galvanised iron dipper with wide handle

Historical information

Made and used by internees at Camp 3

MicroscopeSlides with box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

2 slides (54.1 & 54.2) wrapped in paper and stored in a small hinged metal chemist’s pill box (54.3). ;Also an unidentified 8.5 cm (graphite?) stick (54.4) Slide 54.1 is wrapped in paper and identified as “very precious”. On the slide is printed: ONE INCH divided into hundredths. In ink: “Dup. Beck. Retain.” Next: 1-14 in. cover glass. Then printed: Ruled on glass. H.J. Grayson. No. 2 Slide 54.2 is also wrapped in paper. Ruling can be seen under 3/4 iin. cover glass. Carries labels: “760 or 1/60 xxxx” and “60,000 # good”. On the wrapping paper: “Grayson Test Ruling, given to me by the late Mr W Stone.” Signed: W.M. Holmes, 18.9.50 In differnet penmanship: “Labelled 60,000 gtooves #. White sticker with red bars. Placed in display cabinet 13.8.71 J J McNeill.(All this transcription by EGM)

Inscriptions & Markings

Label On 54.1: “One inc divide into hundredths Dup Beck Retain. Ruled on glass H.J. Grayson No.2” Labels on 54.2: “60”, “60,000# good”. Label on box (54.3): “Grayson Test Rulings 60,000 from W.A. Holmes, Balmoral Ave, Kew”. On metal stick (54.5): “S.F.342” (Prior description by Anna)

Cloth Badges Vietnam

Waverley RSL Sub Branch , Glen Waverley

Set of 2 round cloth badges

Inscriptions & Markings

Operational Support Unit RAAF VietNam Australian Vietnam Forces 1962-1973

Thermo Syringe, 50 ml, Disposible/Sterile, Catheter Tip

Ballarat Base Hospital Trained Nurses League, Ballarat


National Wool Museum, Geelong

Inscriptions & Markings


MAGAZINE ARTICLE - "Changing of the Guard"

Clunes Museum, Clunes

Document - Written article (page 7), on Clunes Young Farmers that includes the names Nathan Lancashire, Jenny Redpath and Sam Montano

Historical information

Article on Clunes Young Farmers 2013

Inscriptions & Markings


Photograph - black and white - Gapsted Football Team, 1932

Federation University Australia Historical Collection (Geoffrey Blainey Research Centre), Mount Helen

Mouned black and white photograph of an Australian Rules football team and two officials. The official on the left is John McNaighton.

Historical information

Gapsted is on the Great Alpine Road in the vicinity of Myrtleford, Victoria. John McNaughton studied at the Ballarat Teachers' College in 1929. He was most probably the teacher of Gapsted Primary School in 1932.

Photograph - Black and White - Portrait of a Man

Ballarat Heritage Services, Bakery Hill Post Office

Photographic portrait of a man

Historical Caulfield to 1972, photo album by Jenny O’Donnell, Elizabeth St

Glen Eira Historical Society, Caulfield South

1 Photo of number 22 with spire


Vision Australia, Kooyong

Metal pin, some with paper

Historical information

To identify AFB staff a silver badge was struck.. A type written card name is located below the main part of the badge, which consists of the guiding light symbol with black 'wings' and a white light, against a silver background. The words 'Association for the Blind' sit around the symbol, in silver lettering, on a black background.

Inscriptions & Markings

Mr. John Wicking (typewritten) Mrs. Janet Wicking (typewritten)


Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Warrnambool

Certificate of Service to James Patten from the Royal Humane Society of Australia

Photograph - Birds of Phillip island

Phillip Island and District Historical Society Inc., COWES

Colour Photograph - Little Grebe newly hatched

Historical information

One of a collection of thirty-six photographs selected for representation in the National Photographic Index of Australian Birds

Image of souvenir ware - Apollo Bay

Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc., Redan, 3350

A coloured picture of a coastline attached to a glass butter plate. The coastline is Cape Patton, Apollo Bay, Victoria

Historical information

Apollo Bay is located between Wye River and Cape Otway on Victoria's scenic coastal route, the Great Ocean Road. In the 1840s the Henty brothers established a whaling station at Point Bunbury on the western end of the bay. The bay was named by Captain Loutit in 1845 when he sheltered his vessel, the Apollo during a storm. (

Inscriptions & Markings

"Apollo Bay"

Photograph - Garden, Eltham Living and Learning Centre, October 1988

Eltham District Historical Society Inc, Eltham

Roll of 35mm black and white negative film, 5 strips

Inscriptions & Markings

Ilford HP5


Port Fairy Historical Society Museum and Archives, Port Fairy

Medal with hole for hanging to commemorate 50 years of the Commonwealth. Embossed. Smooth edge

Inscriptions & Markings

Side 1: 1901 1951;Reverse: Fifty Years Commonwealth of Australia

Newspaper Clipping - King of gliding world

Greensborough Historical Society, Lower Plenty

Newspaper clipping, black and white text and image.

Historical information

Watsonia local Neil Burns set 6 national records in his sport of gliding.

Drawing (Pastel): Nicholas Nedelkopoulos (b.1955 Melb, AUS) - The Sneeze

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Pastel drawing on paper. Image depicts a small black figure with a small monkey on a lead. The figure has a red nose to which he is holding a tissue. He is walking through what appears to be a flowering forest.

Historical information

Nicholas Nedelkopoulos is an established artist, his work is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Australia and in numerous International and Australian Public and Private Collections. His work has been included in major historic exhibitions: the National Gallery of Australia's Federation touring exhibition, The Australian Bicentennial Folio and Victoria's 150th Anniversary exhibition curated at The State Library of Victoria and National Gallery of Victoria. He has a Diploma of Fine Arts from Victorian College of the Arts, a Master of Fine Art from the University of Melbourne (Victorian College of the Arts) and has a Doctorate from Monash University. Nedelkopoulos' work is based strongly in graphic tradition which can be seen throughout all of his media.


'The Sneeze' alludes to a feverish response, an irritation, a period of temporary discomfort, or a sign of sickness. On a visit to Eltham in 1995 Nedelkopoulos became aware of the disquiet felt by many residents because local government was not in the hands of elected representatives. 'The Sneeze' is an allegorical work, which serves as a reminder of this period in our municipal history. Nedelkopoulos has constructed an environment similar to a theatre set in which every element is a symbol to be deciphered. Whether you read the red-nosed figure as democracy being challenged by the political circumstance, as representing the unelected commissioners surrounded by the criticism of the community, or as another player in the story, to unravel the meaning of individual elements will provide direction and add weight to your interpretation. Without knowledge of the artist's intention the work can convey quite straightforward messages and responses. For example, the misery of hayfever in Spring, or how germs spread from a single sneeze. Such ideas are relevant and provide the metaphoric basis for a more in-depth analysis.


Queen's College, Parkville

Letter 1784 January 16, London to Mr Richd Rodda at the Preachinghouse in Birmingham, from John Wesley. Holograph, signed.

School Records - Individuals - Jones, Dorothy Jean

Rutherglen Historical Society, Rutherglen

Individual school records of the pupils of the Higher Elementary School, Rutherglen.

Historical information

From School records, some more complete than others. Reports should contain information on the pupil's school work and give details of what they did when they left school. They should also show the name of a parent and the occupation. All sheets are indexed on a spreadsheet at the Common School Museum.

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