The collection of seven 1860s keys once belonged to the Glenample Homestead near Princetown. They are all keyed with different bits and would have opened the external panelled doors of the Georgian building. The keys would now be around 150 years old. The keys are now part of the John Chance Collection.
Locksmiths became a recognised trade by the middle of the 19th century, doing work that blacksmiths and gunsmiths would have done. They were craftsmen and trained apprentices for their trade. The local community and businesses relied on them for making a wide variety of precision objects such as locks and keys, knives, ornamental and decorative latticework, fine instruments, accurate tools and hardware items.
THE JOHN CHANCE COLLECTION
Flagstaff Hill received a donation of over 100 shipwreck artefacts that were salvaged by John Chance, an abalone fisherman, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The objects come from several wrecks along Victoria’s coast, including the Loch Ard. At that time there was no legislation to protect significant shipwrecks and their artefacts.
John Chance enjoyed time on the south west coast of Victoria with renowned maritime author Jack Loney. His interest was kindled in the Loch Ard story and the 1860’s Georgian style Glenample Homestead, which had been built using local sandstone. He visited and photographed the run-down buildings and ruined sheds. He found a bunch of interesting old door keys laying in the pantry, possibly once used for the panelled doors along the falling down veranda. He had an interest in keys and gathered them for safe keeping.
About ninety years before John’s visit, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael had been guests of the Gibsons at their Glenample Homestead. (See their story below.)
The ‘John Chance Collection’ connects the donated keys and photographs of Glenample Homestead to both the blue china tea set, a letter about Eva’s stay at Glenample, a cookery book whose owner’s mother was a cook at Glenample, and to the many other Loch Ard artefacts.
GLENAMPLE & the LOCH ARD
Glenample Homestead became famous after the disastrous wreck of the sailing ship Loch Ard on June 1, 1878. The owners, Hugh Hamilton Gibson and Peter McArthur, were involved in the rescue and recovery of the only two survivors, as well as overseeing the salvage of items from the shipwreck and the burial of those who lost their lives.
Glenample Homestead is on the Great Ocean Road at Princetown. Originally the land was part of Kennan’s Station lease, one of the district’s early settlements, circa 1847.
James Murray bought Kerman’s land in 1856-57, combined it with nearby land, and named it Glenample Homestead. The ruins of huts Murray built on the property were still there until recently. Glenample was sold in 1866 to the partnership of Gibson and McArthur. They built a Georgian style house there using local sandstone, completing it by 1869.
On 1st June 1878 the Loch Ard was wrecked at what is now called Loch Ard Gorge. Apprentice crewman Tom Pearce and eighteen year old passenger Eva Carmichael were the only survivors. Pearce had brought Eva ashore and sheltered her in a cave, reviving her with whiskey found amongst items washed up from the wreck. He climbed the cliffs and came across two riders from Glenample. No other survivors were found and sadly, Eva’s family members were amongst those who drowned. Hugh and Lavinia Gibson cared for Pearce and Eva at Glenample and extended their hospitality to Eva, who stayed on for about six weeks as she recovered from the ordeal physically and emotionally.
Mrs Gibson introduced Eva to Jane Shields and the young ladies became lifelong friends. Years after Eva had returned to England, Jane’s daughter visited her. Eva handed her a blue china tea set to pass onto her mother as a gift. A descendant of Jane’s donated part of the tea set to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village while another descendant donated her inherited share of the tea set to the Warrnambool and District Historical Society.
In 1886 Glenample Homestead was updated to include a veranda on three sides. In 1887 Gibson sold his share to partner Peter McArthur. McArthur’s son Ernest inherited the property in 1897. Ernest established the Glenample Cheese Factory in around 1911. It was closed due to the World War and reopened in 1929 by McArthur’s sons, Robert and Colin, when they took control. In 1945 they sold Glenample and several owners followed but it was left unoccupied and became dilapidated.
It was during this time that abalone fisherman, John Chance, visited the property. (See his story above.)
In the 1980s the National Parks Service acquired the Glenample Homestead and began a restoration program. Work began in 1989 by Cathedral Stone, which was established in 1989 by James Charlwood, a specialist stonemason and son of maritime author Don Charlwood.
The keys are significant as an example of mid-19th century locksmith hardware, and for their connection with Glenample Homestead, and for their connection to the history of the Loch Ard shipwreck’s only two survivors.
Glenample Homestead is of historical, social and architectural significance to the State of Victoria and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR H0392). It is a historical example of early settlement and development of a run in the coastal land of South West Victoria, and it is constructed from locally quarried sandstone but doesn’t take away from its Georgian design.
Glenample Homestead is of State significance through its unique connection with the wreck of the ship Loch Ard and the connection to its owners, Hugh and Lavinia Gibson and Peter McArthur, played a historically and socially significant role in the rescue and care of the survivors, the salvage of goods and the burial of those who lost their lives.
The shipwreck of the Loch Ard itself is of significance for Victoria and is registered on the Victorian Heritage Register (S417).
Key; steel domestic door key. Round, thin open bow with 'B' shaped internal space, collar on shank, close to the bow. Round shank flares out slightly above the collar on the bit. The rectangular bit has internal and external notches and grooves. There is a rounded pin on the end.
This key is one of a collection of seven keys from the 1860s Georgian style Glenample Homestead. Part of the John Chance Collection.
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