Historical information

This private late-nineteenth-century four-wheeled carriage has been built to transport a family or group of passengers with a coachman in the front seat. It can be pulled by one horse, or by two horses if the T-pole is attached. The button fittings along each side of the carriage indicate that a folding roof or hood was once attached. The frame across the front of the carriagewas likely to have been a ‘dashboard’ with a leather or wood covering to prevent water, mud and other particles from splashing onto the passengers. The rear step between the two side-facing bench seats is adjustable to allow for ladies’ long skirts. These rear seats appear to be removable, in which case the carriage could be converted to a wagon to transport goods and equipment. The carriage could have been illuminated by oil or carbide lamps placed into the lamp holders on the sides.

The carriage was kept under cover for many years in an open-front sandstone building that also included living quarters and an area that may have been stable. It was at ‘Murweh’ a Warrnambool property at 203 Liebig Street. The home is now Heritage and National Trust Listed and described as a ‘gentleman’s residence’. It was built by James Wotton Shevill in the 1860s. Shevill was a councillor from 1875 to 1878, serving in 1878 as Mayor of the Borough of Warrnambool. Jeremiah Wade lived at Murweh there from 1879-1880. By 1915 F.B. Whitehead and his family were living there, and by 1930 the address was used by Mr T.J. Rome and his family. Thomas James Rome was still using that address in September 1973 after his 100th birthday. It is believed that one of the property’s owners had been an Obstetrician in Warrnambool.

The current owner re-told the story that children used to hide in the back section of the carriage and smoke, hidden from the sight of onlookers. He had heard the story from a previous owner.


The well-appointed horse-drawn four-wheeled carriage is likely to have first belonged to a local councillor and past Mayor of the town of Warrnambool, J.W. Shervill, whose 1860s city property was the carriage location for many years.
The carriage is a rare local example of a town-based lifestyle befitting a prosperous personality of the late 19th century. It adds to the story of Warrnambool's development as a town influenced by the port, wealth gained from shipping and the home place of prominent local people such as the Councillor and later Mayor.
The side-facing rear seating is unusual for a passenger carriage. It has the feature of removable rear bench seats, allowing for the dual purpose of a carriage or wagon.

Physical description

Carriage; the Victorian-era horse-drawn four-wheeled open carriage has a coachman’s bench seat across the front and two side-facing bench seats in the rear. There are steps at the front on each side and a centre adjustable step and the back. It has a hinged shaft, two lamp holders and a separate T-pole. The bench seats have padded backrests upholstered in green leather and each has padded armrests at the ends. A rectangular metal frame, likely to have been a dashboard, is mounted across the front of the carriage. It has two inner vertical bars.
The carriage's body is painted dark green with crimson highlights on some of the panelling. Decorative oval panels with hand-painted motifs are mounted along the sides. The side panels of the carriage have metal fastener buttons attached.
The iron-rimmed wheels have sixteen wooden spokes and copper cuffs on the outside of the hubs, and the rear wheels are higher than the front wheels. Wooden brake blocks are mounted onto the back wheels and are active by a metal lever at the front right side of the carriage.
The undercarriage is fitted with leaf springs on each side, mounted from front to back axles.
Included are:
(1) The separate T-pole that allows two horses to be harnessed to the carriage
(2) Leather horse winkers with metal hardware and oval brass plate on the side of each winker

Inscriptions & markings

Motif painted on an oval panel [a musical lyre within a blue floral wreath flanked by scrolls]