Historical information

The original owner of the beautiful wardrobe was William Swinton Jr. (1860-1929) and was later given to a friend of the Giles family. It is part of the Giles Collection.
William Swinton Jnr. was a Warrnambool Councilor 1903-20 and Mayor 1917-19, during which time Warrnambool declared a City (1918). William's father, William Swinton Snr. (c.1831-1901) arrived in Warrnambool in 1854 from Edinburgh, Scotland. He established the Swinton store in Timor Street in 1865 where it is still located. William Snr's grand-daughter, Doris Swinton (1904-1986) was one of Australia's most highly decorated nurses of World War 2 and for 16 years matron of the Warrnambool and District Base Hospital. There is a street in Warrnambool named after the Swinton family.

The Giles Collection:

There are many 19th century items of furniture, linen, and crockery donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village by Vera and Aurelin Giles. The items are associated with the Giles Family and are known as the "Giles Collection". These items mostly came from the simple home of Vera's parents-in-law, Henry Giles and his wife Mary Jane (nee Freckleton), whose photos are in the parlour. They married in 1880.
Henry Giles was born at Tower Hill in 1858. He was a labourer on the construction of the Breakwater before leaving in 1895 to build bridges in N.S.W. for about seven years.
Mary Jane was born in 1860 at Cooramook. She attended Mailor's Flat State School where she was also a student teacher before, as a family legend has it, she became a governess at "Injemiara" where her grandfather, Francis Freckleton, once owned land.

Henry and Mary’s family of six, some of whom were born at Mailor’s Flat and later children at Wangoom, lived with their parents at Wangoom and Purnim west, where Henry died in 1933 and Mary Jane in 1940.


The wardrobe is also significant for its association with early Warrnambool history, being owned by William Swinton Jnr. who was a Warrnambool Councilor and Warrnambools first Mayor (1917-19) the son of an early colonial family, arriving in Warrnambool in 1854.
The Giles family collection also has social significance at a local level, because it illustrates the level of material support the Warrnambool community gave to Flagstaff Hill when the Maritime Museum was established.

Physical description

Wardrobe, colonial, made of cedar wood. The doors of the wardrobe have a mirrored door between them and there are two large drawers below the doors, each drawer has two round wooden handles. The wardrobe was once owned by a William Swinton Jnr. It is now part of the Giles Collection.

Inscriptions & markings