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Maffra Sugarbeet Museum Maffra, Victoria

Historical Society acting as a Section 86 Committee of Mangement reporting to the Shire of Wellington.

Contact Information

location
Maffra Victoria (map)
phone
+61 0418 573 828
Contact

Opening Hours

Museum 10am to 2pm first Sunday of the month, Archives at Maffra Library 1pm to 3pm Thursdays.

Entry Fee

Museum $2.00, Archives Free. Dairy Museum at Robotic Dairy by arrangement with the Warren Family.

Location

Maffra Victoria

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Objects and documents relating to the cultivation of sugarbeet around Maffra (1896-1848), and the Maffra Sugarbeet factory, plus agriculture in general (esp. dairy farming) and documents and photographs relating to the former Maffra Shire. Photographs include an extensive collection of the works of H.B. Hammond, photographer at Maffra from c.1907 to the 1940s.

Significance

What is Significant? The sugar beet collection, the dairy collection, the Hammond and the broader photographic collection, and the Ashton architectural drawings contained within the Sugar Beet Museum, the Robotic Farm Interpretive Centre, and the Maffra Library. This includes the material on display and in storage. How is it Significant? These components of the MDHS collection are of historical significance at a local level and contain some items that may be rare or uncommon. The sugar beet collection has historical significance at a state and possibly even national level. Why is it Significant? The MDHS sub-collections (Hammond photographs and Ashton architectural plans) are historically significant at a local level for their association with individuals who recorded many aspects of the district?s development (1910s to 1940s) and created much of the built environment of the Maffra district (1950s to 1980s). These are complemented by an extensive archival record, including the broader photographic collection, of the district and a relatively comprehensive range of objects to represent the dairy industry history in the local area. The collection contains the only representation of the sugar beet industry to be successfully managed in this country. This is of historical significance at a state level and possibly even national level, is unique, and has the capacity to demonstrate the development and maintenance for over two decades of an entirely new primary industry and method of sugar production in Australia. [Emma Russell, 2009]

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Beet Basket

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A cane beet basket, grey colour. It is large, round and woven. There are two arch shaped handles at the top, one on the opposite side to the other. It is strengthened in four places with wire.

Historical information

These special cane baskets were lined with a canvas filter cloth. They held three or four beets and were selected at random from a load. The beet were taken to determine the dirt content after weighing. Dirt and vegetable matter were scraped away and weighed, as was the cleaned beet. The dirt to beet ratio so determined was then applied to the whole load. Only clean beet were paid for. The dirt content averaged eight to fourteen percent, but was higher in wet weather.

Beet Knife

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A beet knife with a long blade which has a pointed end. The handle is short and brown with four rivets in it that have one black dot in the centre of each.

Historical information

These knives were used during beet harvesting. The beets were mechanically lifted, with workers following to pick up each beet, removing the tops with these knives.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Joseph ---- & Sons, Endure, Sheffield" on the knife blade

Book - Cattle Feeding with Sugar Beets, Sugar, Molasses and Sugar Beet Residuum.

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Hardcover book "Cattle Feeding with Sugar Beets, Sugar, Molasses and Sugar Beet Residuum", 1902, 390 pages illus.

Historical information

Frank Pywell was manager of the Maffra Sugar Beet Factory

Significance

The Sugar Beet industry was highly significant in the Maffra area for just under 50 years, and led to the construction of the Glenmaggie Weir and the consequent Macalister Irrigation District. This book is one of a number from the private library of the factory manager, and the entire collection of them provides a unique insight into information available at the time of manufacture. It is unlikely a collection of this breadth on sugarbeet is held anywhere else in Australia.

Inscriptions & Markings

"F.J.Pywell" inside front cover "R.J. Shingles" page preceding title page. Stamp "Technical Library / Department of Agriculture / Melbourne" in several places

Book - The Beet Sugar Industry 1894 to 1948

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Published book (processed, comb bound) "The Beet Sugar Industry 1894 to 1948"

Centrifuge

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A round, black herd-testing centrifuge with a flat top and bottom. It has a hinged flap that opens and stands on three legs. There is a smaller round piece on top of the centrifuge which has a thick cylindrical shaped piece of metal in the centre. An apparatus at the top allows water to be driven through an impeller and there is an internal carrier to hold bottles for centrifuging.

Historical information

Owned by Mervin Buckram (of Rochester), used for private use on the farm at Mewburn Park. Used approx 1940s.

Significance

An important survivor from the early dairy industry. Maffra has always held a leading role in Herd testing, so it has considerable community significance. An earlier example is held at Stratford, with another, between the two, and less intact, at Old Gippstown.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Grand prize St. Louise 1904" on side,"Wizard Tester" on top."The creamery package MFG. company Chicago. U.S.A. No. 3785" on brass plaque.

Illuminated Address

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Illuminated address, unframed, presented Dec 1885 to Fritz Horstman, following his representing residents in the Maffra Shire for seven years. Signatories are: H. Amey, A. Allardyce, G. Lyndon, J. Gerrand, H. Crisp, T. Smith, indec, J. Atkinson, D. Miller, N.Nicholson, T. Martin, W. Clement, A. Clark, J.W. Hagan, T. Pollock, Osborn Bros, T. Anderson, J (?) herkes, J. Knox, J.Boland, P. Boland, J. Clyne, J. Forsyth, R. Ferguson, J. Cromb, H. Smith, R. Fullerton, A. Gerrand, Wm McCole, A. Morrison and 20 other ratepayers, John Williams, R. Harper, David Clyne, P. Mellon, J. Macfarlane. All appear to be written in the same hand, and are not actual signatures. Whole address appears to be executed in a rather amateur manner, rather than being from a commercial artist/calligrapher.

Historical information

The names come from a variety of areas, from as far away as Glenmaggie, and may reflect who contributed a set sum for a presentation. Appears to have originally been framed. Fritz Horstman was first chair of the Upper Maffra Co-operative Butter and Cheese Factory in 1904.

Significance

An important example of a locally-produced Illuminated address, as opposed to those of a more grandiose nature that were purchased from "outside".

Filter Cloth

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A length of loosely woven white cotton material 80cm wide, and cut to 174cm in length, with frayed ends.

Historical information

This filter cloth is one of many used in the sugar production process.

Souvenir Plate

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Oblong cream and tan souvenir plate with photograph of "Sugar Factory, Maffra" printed in centre. The ends are extended to form handles, each pierced with two holes.

Significance

A tangible reminder of how important the sugar beet factory and the sugar beet industry was to Maffra, is the production of souvenir-ware with images of the factory. The Sugar Beet industry was highly significant in the Maffra area for just under 50 years, and led to the construction of the Glenmaggie Weir and the consequent Macalister Irrigation District. The item lacks detailed provenance, but is obviously local.

Inscriptions & Markings

Sugar Factory Maffra [crown] / Victoria / China / Czechoslovakia

Photograph

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Copy photograph of Lindenow sugar beet ready for transport by rail to Maffra. In the photograph are two horses ready to pull a dray with a man standing nearby and another horse ready to pull a dray, with a woman standing nearby.

Historical information

Apart from around Maffra, the only other area where sugarbeet was grown was Lindenow. It was carted to Maffra by special beet trains.

Beet Lifter

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Blacksmith-made single sugarbeet lifter, painted with rust-proofing paint.

Historical information

Possibly the work of W.O. Fulton, Maffra blacksmith and machinery maker. Ken Roberts says that Harry Roberts (his father), had an earlier model from Bill Fulton. (possibly six pounds ten shillings, and he was able to pay it off). pers com. 5/12/2010

Sugar Bag

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A 70 pounds Maffra sugar bag of hessian, light brown in colour.

Historical information

An example of the packaging used for Maffra sugar until the 1948.

Inscriptions & Markings

Maffra. Grown in Australia 70 lbs. Sugar, Maffra Victoria

Sugar Process Samples

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A set of 15 clear glass jars with samples from the sugar making process. They are labelled in order; Cossettes, Pulp, Diffusion Juice, First Carbonator Juice, Lime Scum, Second Carbonator Juice, Thin Juice, Thick Juice, Standard Syrup, Green Syrup, Raw Massceute, Raw Sugar and Molasses.

Historical information

These samples were displayed at the Sugarbeet factory. A glass jar of seeds from the same series has also been catalogued.

Beet Hoe

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A metal thinning hoe of four piece construction, with a turned wooden handle attached to the tool by a nail. The blade is welded onto a bent holder, which is in turn welded to the metal extension of the handle. There is cloth inside the ferrule.

Historical information

These hoes were the standard thinning tool for sugarbeet, and allowed a standard space between seedlings. Thinning was back-breaking work, usually carried out by a transient work force.

Significance

These hoes are probably still commonly in the possession of old gardeners. They are important as the only tool required of a large, transient workforce that worked under extremely difficult conditions.

Trowel

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A silver presentation trowel with handle of unknown white compound, in an oblong case. The case is covered in black leatherette/paper, with green satin lining in the lid and black velvet inner base. Engraved to mark the laying of the foundation stone at the Maffra Sugarbeet Factory in 1897 by Mrs A.M. Foster. Much embellished with hand engraving. Box edged inside with ruched satin around edges.

Historical information

Presented to Mrs A.M. Foster (husband a director, may have been major shareholder) on occasion of laying of foundation stone at Maffra Sugarbeet Factory in 1897. Representatives of Frederick Barley, who visited the museum in September 2009 believe they have an identical trowel

Inscriptions & Markings

"Presented to Mrs A.M. Foster on the occasion of laying the memorial stone for the Beet Sugar Factory at Maffra on June 19th 1897 by Waring and Howden [Bowden?] builders.

Foundation Stone

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Foundation Stone from the Maffra Sugar Beet Factory, mounted on two blocks of stone that originated from the footings of the Bushy Park railway bridge. It reads: Maffra Sugar Beet Company Limited / Memorial Stone /Laid by Mrs A.M. Foster on 19 June 1897 / Directors / Allan McLean MLA Chairman / A.M. Foster F.H. Forrest C.G. Glassford / F. Horstman J.Mills J.McDonald / J.W. Allen Treasuer's Representative / J.Salatnay C.E. Engineer Fred C. Barley Secretary / Waring & Rowden Builders.

Photograph

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A first generation black and white photographic print of the Maffra Sugarbeet Factory in more recent years. It shows the front of the factory from the road, with a fence and some telephone lines and the World War I memorial in the photograph. The sugar store, which is still on site, appears to the nearer end.

Historical information

The WWI war memorial has since been moved to the front of the RSL Rooms/Maffra Memorial Hall. It is now in front of the Library.

Portrait

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Framed oil painting by Vincenzo Brun of Allan McLean, local, state and federal parliamentarian, in thick, gold frame. McLean faces towards the left, is wearing a black suit and bow tie, and has a beard.

Historical information

Allan McLean was a stock and station agent from Maffra. He was elected to local government, served as Shire President and was the first chairman of the Maffra Sugarbeet Factory. He became Premier of Victoria and first member for Gippsland in the Commonwealth Government. Vincenzo Brun was a prominant society painter in Melbourne in the 1890s. The portrait appears to have been commissioned by the Maffra Shire Council, and probably hung in their chambers for many years.

Inscriptions & Markings

"V.Brun" as signature, bottom right

Weighbridge

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

A Boemer weighbridge mechanism. It has a series of cogs on the left with a handle that when turned lifts a large weight. Across the top is the weighing bar, with a moving weight. On the right side is a handle that when turned moves the weighing bar up or down. It has modern green paint on it.

Historical information

This mechanism was used to weigh sugarbeet at the Maffra Sugarbeet Factory. This is a Full Capacity Steelyard Weighbridge. It is accompanied, on the wall, by a diagram of a Proportional Steelyard, with weights on the bar. This one weighs to 10,000 kg.

Ornament

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

An ornament made from seven cow's horns and several small hooves, on a wooden base.

Teapot

Maffra Sugarbeet Museum, Maffra

Miniature white china teapot, with lid, printed with photograph of Maffra Sugarbeet Factory.

Inscriptions & Markings

[Crown] / Victoria / Czechoslovakia / HU