Historical information

The brand "Laurel" on one of the wooden panels is from the Mobil Oil company's kerosene.

In the words of the donor, Betty Stone, "Made by Ellis Dale of Latrigg Wangoom, Warrnambool c 1890.

The cupboard consists of packing cases stamped with original brand names. One drawer made from a gelignite packing case is of special significance as the Dale family owned a bluestone quarry known as The Dale Bluestone Quarries at Wangoom situated about three miles east of Warrnambool.

Ellis Dale, second son of William Dale and Elizabeth (nee Chamberlain) Dale, was born in Wangoom, Warrnambool on 21November 1860. His father, William Dale, a quarryman from Saddleworth, Yorkshire migrated to Australia in 1852; seven years later - in 1859- he purchased the quarries on twenty acres of land situated in Wangoom at the corner of what is now known as Dales and Aberline Roads. Later, when his two eldest sons, William Jnr and Ellis, reached ten or eleven years of age they worked with their father in the quarries. The work was arduous and dangerous as gelignite was used to blast the bluestone.

In 1890 Ellis Dale married Ann Lees, daughter of Lees and Sarah (nee Chamberlain) Lees of Wangoom, Warrnambool. Initially Ellis and Ann Dale resided in a two roomed bluestone cottage which Ellis built a little further up the hill from his parents' home on the Dale family property. A few years later, in order to accommodate their growing family, additional rooms were added making a spacious, comfortable weatherboard home situated in Dales Road which they named Latrigg.

Ellis Dale constructed this cupboard soon after he and Ann first set up home in their little stone cottage in 1890. When the home was rebuilt, the home-made cupboard was moved into the larger kitchen, and although Latrigg was well furnished, it remained in the corner between the kitchen door and the large wood stove where it served its purpose very well as it was used for storing ironing utensils. The lower compartment with the hinged drop-door was designed to store the flat irons which were heated on the wood stove, while the ironing blanket and cover, iron holders and other items were stored in the drawers.

The Dale quarrying and contracting business existed in Wangoom, Warrnambool for over eighty years as after William Dale’s death. Ellis Dale together with his son lvor, continued on until he died in 1940.

(Note: For additional information please refer to Betty Stone’s book “Pioneers and Places - A History of three Warrnambool Pioneering Families” ie. Chamberlain, Dale and Lees Families)


This item is associated with families of Chamberlain, Dale and Lees. These families are listed in the "Pioneers' Register" for Warrnambool Township and Shire, 1835-1900, published by A.I.G.S. Warrnambool Branch.

Physical description

Cupboard, rare example of a Colonial Cupboard, wooden. Made by Ellis Dale from packing cases; several brand names are evident inc. Gelignite, Laurel. Cuboard lined with newspaper and wallpaper. Panels on left side are braced by attaching a metal scraper. Comprises four compartments, three have round wooden handles, lower compartment has a hinged, drop down door. (From the Chamberlain, Dale and Lees Collection)

Inscriptions & markings

Brands on wooden panels of cupboard include "Gelignite" and "Laurel"