Historical information

Makers of Snakebone Necklaces

Two local women who made these necklaces were:

Minnie Blucher (nee Wanke) (c.1891-1976) who lived at Briagolong in the 1940s. Highly artistic, she eagerly sought out snakes, killing many around Noble's Bridge. Peter Mills of Briagolong remembers that she would hang them on fences for maggots to eat away the fresh, and painted and dyed the bones. She also used spine bones from cattle for ornaments.

Bella Buttsworth (1882-1951) was the daughter of Thomas and Rachel Mills of Briagolong, and the aunt of Ina Worseldine of Maffra.

Ina remembers her making these necklaces in the 1920s, and that she placed beads in between the bones. The comment was also made that she often put large bones at the front and smaller ones to the back.

Bella obtained the bones by boiling the dead snakes down, and then left the bones out on logs in the sun to bleach.

Physical description

A circular necklace made of spine bones from snakes and red beads, threaded onto copper wire. It contains 20 bones, each with a red bead between it and the next, with five red beads near a rough hook catch. The bones appear painted, possibly with calcomine.