This knife is believed to belong to the household of Chiltern writer and historian, W.C. Busse. It displays a level of tarnish indicating it may be comprised of silver or silver plate. The blade contains the mark 'EP' which may indicate silverplate over steel. The blade also contains the maker's mark 'Wingfield', which was the trademark of T. Turner & Co but could also refer to the company Wingfield Rowbotham. Both factories are located in Sheffield, United Kingdom. The trademark is ascribed to goods produced in approximately 1907. The handle of the knife displays the initials 'WB', potentially indicating it was made to order.
Wilfred Clarence Busse was born in Chiltern in 1898. He went to school at Wesley College in Melbourne, studied law at the University of Melbourne and became a barrister. Additionally, after spending time on a Victorian station in his early twenties, he wrote two historical novels about bush life. His first novel was 'The Blue Beyond: a Romance of the Early Days in South Eastern Australia', written in 1928 and published in 1930.
Busse's second novel was titled 'The Golden Plague: A Romance of the Early Fifties'. The judges of the Henry Lawson Society's T.E. Rofe competition to advance Australian literature unanimously awarded it the Gold Medal in 1931 for the best historical novel of 1930. Newspaper articles about the award mention the writer's meticulous documentary and oral history research regarding life on the Gold Fields in the 1850s. It became a best-seller.
Busse also wrote a series of articles about local history for "The Federal Standard" newspaper in Chiltern. He was a member of the Chiltern Athenaeum. He died in 1960.
This knife is significant for the detail it conveys of ordinary domestic life in the household of a significant Victorian writer with special reference to Chiltern and the surrounding region.
Knife with tarnished patina and cream-coloured handle with owner's initials engraved or stamped.
Inscriptions & markings
- w.c. busse,
- gold fields,
- gold mining,
- gold rush,
- north-east victoria,
- indigo shire,
- t.turner & co,
- wingfield rowbotham,
- wesley college,
- historical fiction,
- golden plague,
- blue beyond,
- henry lawson society,
- t.e. rofe,
- Colonial Australian popular fiction: a digital archive
- Best Australian novel: The T.E. Rofe Gold Medal The Daily Telegraph, Sydney; 20 June 1930
- T.E. Rofe gold medal awarded to 'The Golden Plague' Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 3 July 1931
- National Gallery of Victoria: A modern life - Tablewares 1930s to 1980s National Gallery of Victoria: A modern life - Tablewares 1930s to 1980s
- British electroplate silver and silverplate marks