Historical information

This children's eating utensil is believed to belong to the household of Chiltern writer and historian, W.C. Busse. The level of tarnish and the mark 'EPNS' may indicate it is electroplated. The blade also contains the maker's mark 'APEX', which was used by John Biggin & Co, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Pushers such as these were a common utensil in Victorian and early twentieth-century households. They were used to help children too young to use knives learn to eat politely at the table - the blunt blade was used to push food onto the fork. Pushers could also be used to pull food from a serving platter onto an individual plate.

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 child's eating utensil 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. It may also be significant in understanding the customs and practices of English-speaking nations in the early Twentieth Century.

Physical description

The object is a metal food pusher, a child's eating utensil with a blunt lozenge at right angles to the handle. The metal is tarnished, indicating that it may be silver or silverplated.

Inscriptions & markings