139 matches for themes: 'gold rush','a diverse state'Diverse state (139) Aboriginal culture (26) Built environment (36) Creative life (46) Family histories (8) Gold rush (7) Immigrants and emigrants (21) Kelly country (3) Land and ecology (23) Local stories (53) Service and sacrifice (13) Sporting life (5)
Mark S. Holsworth
Art at Flinders Street Station
The average commuter passing through Flinders Street Station could remain blissfully unaware for their entire lives of anything more artistic in the station than the endless advertising images.
However, as befitting any major public building, there is some commissioned art at Flinders Street Station.
A Sensory Experience
The mainstream understanding of deaf and blind people has shifted over time. When once it was thought that blind people should be taken care of and sheltered, or deaf people taught to hear and speak, a deeper awareness of distinct culture and experience has emerged.
'A Sensory Experience' explores the world through the eyes and ears of the deaf and blind communities in Victoria and seeks to demystify some of the stereotypes and preconceptions that survive to this day.
The four films that make up part of this story highlight Victoria’s Deaf and blind communities within an historical framework, fostering new insights and provoking thought about the way we understand these communities today. Each film is an open invitation to share the experience of the world from another perspective.
The accompanying images complement the films, giving further understanding to the rich history held within the two groups. In addition, two contemporary essays by prominent writers offer the unique opportunity to share their lived experiences. Finally, the story contains an education kit for secondary students, which allows for a deeper study and understanding.
Welcome to Country! Learn about Koorie Culture: our people, our flags, and history.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images and voices of deceased persons, and images of places that could cause sorrow.
Reinventing the Brass Band
MORELAND CITY BAND - and its antecedents in Brunswick and Coburg - has been pumping out brassy tunes since 1882. Originally developed as an essential civic instrumentality (pun intended), the band has long served to enliven parades, festivals and ceremonial events. At the Moreland Band Hall in Brunswick there’s a gallery of photographs and a cabinet of trophies reflecting this illustrious history of community music making.
In more recent decades community interest in traditional brass bands has waned. The brass band isn’t dead, but at least in Moreland it was an institution in serious need of reinvention. So in 2008, facing what seemed to be a terminal decline, the Band embarked on a process of transformation, working to attract new ideas, new people and new energy. Since that time, Moreland City Band has created a whole new model for what a community band might be.
The reinvented Band maintains the best aspects of the local band tradition, supporting musicians of all abilities to play and develop. The band still performs at local festivals and events, but it’s no longer simply a brass band. Under the energetic direction of trumpet maestro Scott Tinkler, the MCB Phoenix Project has arisen from the ashes of a traditional British-style brass band to embrace more diverse instrumentation and a broader, more original musical repertoire. There’s also a resident learner’s group (the MCB Krysallis Band) and a wide range of other ensembles practicing and performing every day and night of the week: big bands, jazz groups, African drummers, ukulele ensembles, avant-garde composers and arrangers, brass choirs, youth bands and others.
It’s dynamic, open and inclusive, deliberately blurring boundaries between musical genres and between professional and amateur musicians. Moreland City Band ensembles include players aged under ten through to musicians in their eighties, and people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds.
The band’s home at Cross Street in Brunswick is a rehearsal space, a performance venue, a recording studio, a music library and still, in some ways, an old-fashioned band hall, all rolled into one.
New players are always welcome - www.morelandcityband.com
Additional recordings by the MCB Phoenix Project can be heard at: https://www.reverbnation.com/morelandcityband/songs
Moreland City Band acknowledges the ongoing support of Moreland City Council.
Melbourne and Smellbourne
Over the last 150 years Victoria has experienced a number of landmark capital works and landscaping projects in response to its changing economic, environmental and cultural relationship to water. The sewerage system that we take for granted today had to be built from scratch.
For all the grandeur that was 'Marvellous Melbourne' in the 1880s, the city was nicknamed 'Smellbourne', and for good reason. The building of Yan Yean Reservoir in the 1850s had ensured the availability of fresh water, but there was still no sewerage system.
An appalling stench wafted from the many cesspits and open drains. 'Nightsoil' (as human waste was politely referred to) polluted the streets and ran into the Yarra. Nightsoil collectors frequently dumped their loads on public roads. Ignorance and neglect of the hygienic disposal of human waste had devastating results at this time when hundreds died in a savage outbreak of typhoid.
Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works
In 1891 the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) was created. It immediately began plans to build an underground drainage system linked to a pumping station at Spotswood, located on the western banks of the mouth of the Yarra River. The sewage flowed by gravity to Spotswood, where it was then pumped to the Werribee Treatment Farm.
Spotswood Pumping Station
Spotswood Pumping Station built to pump Melbourne's sewage to Werribee, was finished in 1897. At the pumping station, steam engines (later replaced by electrical ones) worked to pump the sewage up a rising main to join the major sewer outfall at the head of the pumping mains near Millers Road at Brooklyn. The outfall sewer then carried the sewage to the Werribee Treatment Farm where it was purified and discharged into the sea.
Werribee was the perfect site for the MMBW's new sewage farm. The farm was the Board's most important project, and one of the largest public works undertaken in Australia in the nineteenth century.
Land at Werribee was cheaper than at Mordialloc - the other site considered. Rainfall was low compared with the rest of Melbourne, which meant the land would adapt well to irrigation. Werribee was also 9 miles (14.4 KM) away from the nearest boundary of the metropolitan district (Williamstown), and 24 miles (38.6 KM) away from the influential and well-to-do suburb of Brighton. The Chirnside family sold 8,857 acres (3.2 hectares) to the Board for 17 pounds per acre.
The Earl of Hopetoun, Governor of Victoria, turned the first sod of earth in a ceremony on May 1892, which marked the beginning of the building of the outfall sewer near Werribee.
On 5 February 1898, a ceremony marked the official connection of Melbourne to the new sewerage system. Guests - politicians, board members, city councillors and federal delegates - boarded a steamer to watch the Governor, Lord Brassey, raise the penstock (the partition between the smaller and larger sewers) at the Australian Wharf. They then visited the pumping station at Spotswood and the sewage farm at Werribee. Horses and carts conveyed the 180 guests around the farm.
After lunch and toasts, many of which looked forward to the future of a federated Australia, MMBW Chairman Mr Fitzgibbon proudly declared it "was not a question of how much the scheme was going to cost, but how much it was going to save in the lives of the citizens." Before the work was completed he hoped to see those puny punsters and petty wits who spoke of Melbourne as Marvellous Smellbourne constrained to speak of her as one of the sweetest and healthiest cities of the world.
Eugene von Guérard
Eugene von Guérard was born in Vienna in 1811. He was the son of the court painter to Emperor Franz Joseph 1 of Austria, Bernard von Guérard, and became a painter himself, studying under Johann Schirmer at the Academy in Düsseldorf.
He came to Australia to try his luck on the goldfields. Unsuccessful, he resumed his painting career in Melbourne in 1854, and by 1870 was appointed First Master of Painting at the National Gallery School, Melbourne and Curator of the National Gallery of Victoria. He returned to Europe in 1882.
His landscapes, remarkable for their detail, are much valued for the depiction of Australian and particularly, Victorian, landscapes of the mid-1800s.
Symbols of Survival
The internment of civilian and military populations was widespread during the twentieth century.
The Australian experience of imprisonment is complex: Captured Australian soldiers faced years in Asian and European camps, often returning home traumatised or suffering physically. Australia also interned enemy soldiers and civilian residents with ties to enemy nations.
The physical objects created by internees and by the societies that imprisoned them can tell stories not found in archives. Prisoners expressed themselves through art, doctors built tools and internees made furniture to fill sparse barracks. Similarly, authorities used the internee experience to tell stories, and the image of the prisoner could be used to communicate power or compassion depending on the audience.
These objects are comparatively rare in military collections, as internees faced obstacles when producing physical objects. Lack of access to materials, hostile guards and strict rules, low morale and poor health all contributed to their scarcity.
Victorian Collections provides a window into the story of internment. This story uses objects drawn from Victoria’s collecting organisations to explore the internee and prisoner experience.
But That's Another Story
This innovative collaboration between community museums and local artists captures the unique living memories and rich cultural heritage of communities along the Murray River between Wodonga and Corryong.
Seven short films were created as part of the project:
Nox-All Rabbits: How do you deal with a plague of rabbits? With Nox-All. Rabbiting was a way of life in Victoria, especially during the plague of 1932. Rabbits were a source of food and income (the felt from their pelts used in Akubra hats), and thought by some to be "better than chickens".
Jim Simpson's knitted war trophy: During World War II Jim Simpson's aircraft was shot down over Germany and he became a prisoner of war at Stalag IVB. Jim's ingenuity helped to keep prisoners warm, and ultimately resulted in an extraordinary memorial.
Old time music in the blood: Nariel Creek residents have music in the blood, so much so that they've been told their accordion style is special, using all four fingers at once. The Nariel old time style of Australian traditional music and dance continues with the Nariel Creek Folk Festival.
A history of engine power: Watch out... refurbishing engines can become an addiction. The gem of this collection of over 150 engines is an 1866 Ransom Sims engine, one of only 5 in the world, which has been lovingly restored.
The Saleyards Made Wodonga: Cattle were one of the biggest industries in Wodonga, and the saleyards a focal point town, not least because plum pudding was served in the luncheon room all year round.
The Icon of Wodonga: You need more than a trickle of water to fight a fire. The Wodonga water tower was welcomed as it brought the 'luxury' of water to town, and when it was decommissioned the community rallied to prevent its demolition.
The Saw Doctor's Wagon: The 'Sharpening King' and his family travelled throughout eastern Australia sharpening knives in their 'road urchin'. A circus-like wagon, the urchin was first pulled by horses, then a Chevron truck, and finally, by a David Brown tractor.
Participating museums: Granya Pioneer Museum, Man From Snowy River Museum, Tallangatta & District Heritage Group, Wodonga Historical Society.
Supported by: the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Arts Fund, Regional Arts Victoria, National Museum of Australia, City of Wodonga, Shire of Towong, Museums Australia (Vic) and Arts Victoria. Auspice organisation: Murray Arts
Making Do on ‘the Susso’: The material culture of the Great Depression
There are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. The demands on renewable sources like timber, clean water and soil are so great they are now being used at almost twice the rate that the earth can replenish them. Finite resources like fossil fuel are consumed at an alarming rate, changing the earth’s climate and pushing animal species to the brink of extinction. Current patterns of consumption are exceeding the capacity of the earth’s ability to provide into the future.
All over the world, environmental movements concerned with sustainability have sprung up in response. Conscious consumers are advocating for their right to repair their own electronic devices, fighting a culture of planned obsolesce and disposability. Others are championing the repair, reuse and recycling of clothing and household goods to extend their lives. Reducing waste in the kitchen and promoting food options with lower environmental impact has become increasingly popular.
Climate change may be a uniquely twenty-first century challenge, but sustainability has a history. In 2021 many people are making a conscious choice to embrace anti-consumerism, but during the Great Depression of the 1930s it was necessity that drove a philosophy of mend and make do.
In 1929 stock markets crashed and sent economies around the western world into free fall, triggering the Great Depression. Australia’s economic dependence on wool and wheat exports meant that it was one of the worst affected countries in the world. The impact of the Depression on the everyday lives of Australians was immense. Not everyone was effected with the same severity, but few escaped the poverty and austerity of the years 1929-1933 unscathed.
At the height of the Depression in 1932 Australia had an unemployment rate of 29%, and thousands of desperate people around the country queued for the dole. Aboriginal Australians were not eligible for the dole, and had to rely solely on government issued rations.
Stories of Women on the Land
From the grinding stones of Australia’s first farmers, Wagga quilts, butter pats and recipe books to family photographs, garden tools and agricultural equipment – women’s farm work is frequently found in museums. The contribution of women to Australian agriculture has a rich and very deep history. Yet these stories have been unacknowledged and continue to be undervalued.
The nature of women’s farm work is often rendered invisible because much of it is intangible and ephemeral, is characterised by relationships and oral tradition, and dismissed as just ‘domestic’ work when in fact this work is what has often sustained families, farms and communities. The layers of invisibility are even deeper for migrant and Indigenous women.
There has also been a long history of official barriers to recognising women’s work on the land. Farm women were deliberately omitted from the 1891 Victorian Census. Women were excluded from agriculture courses up into the early 1970s. It wasn’t until 1994 that women were legally recognised as farmers, prior to this they were defined as ‘non-productive "sleeping" partners’. And, It is only in recent years that scholars have finally acknowledged the 40-50,000 years of Indigenous knowledge and practice in complex systems of agriculture and aquaculture.
Victorian museums are a treasure trove of untold stories about the extraordinary lives of farm women and how they have shaped our land and rural communities.
Diplomat, artist, story-teller and leader, Wurundjeri (Woiwurung) man William Barak worked all his life to protect the rights and culture of his people, and to bridge the gap between settlers and the land’s original custodians.
Barak was educated at the Yarra Mission School in Narrm (Melbourne), and was a tracker in the Native Police as his father had been, before becoming ngurungaeta (clan leader). Energetic, charismatic and mild mannered, he spent much of his life at Coranderrk Reserve - a self-sufficient Aboriginal farming community in Healesville.
Barak campaigned to protect Coranderrk, worked to improve cross-cultural understanding and created many unique artworks and artifacts, leaving a rich cultural legacy for future generations.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images and voices of deceased persons, and images of places that could cause sorrow.
Further information on William Barak can be found at the State Library of Victoria's Ergo site.
At the Going Down of the Sun
One hundred years on, evidence of the impact of the First World War can be plainly seen across Victoria.
Built heritage including cenotaphs, statues, plaques and obelisks are peppered across the state’s public spaces, each dedicated to the commemoration of the war service of the thousands of Victorians who served between 1914 and 1918.
Many of these men and women died in active service and were buried overseas, so locally built monuments served as important places to mourn and remember them. They were places for private and collective mourning, commemoration and remembrance.
These memorials were truly local, often built through community fundraising and supported by communities who shared a sense of loss. Most are inscribed with the names of those who died from the region, while others list the names of all those who served.
Across Victoria, cenotaphs and built memorials remain central to ANZAC Day services, but the way we commemorate has changed with each generation and so has the way we remember and mourn the servicemen of the First World War. Photographic and material culture collections from across the state, catalogued here on Victorian Collections, capture some of the tangible and intangible heritage associated with the shifting ways we commemorate the First World War. They provide meaningful insight in to our society and how we make sense of war and loss.
Collecting Fire: A new kind of practice
The fires of February 2009 left an indelible mark on the histories of Victoria’s community collecting organisations; whether through blackened ash markings or by the absence of once cherished objects and ephemera.
This exploration of Victoria’s collecting response to the Black Saturday bushfires is inspired by Liza Dale‐Hallett, Rebecca Carland and Peg Fraser’s reflections on the Victorian Bushfires Collection project, in 'Sites of Trauma: Contemporary Collecting and Natural Disaster'.
Talking Shop: Ballarat in Business & City Life at Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute
Between January and April 2019, the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute hosted the exhibition Talking Shop, exploring a world of Peters ice cream cones, milk bars, vintage advertising, historic photographs and ephemera.
This nostalgia was complemented by contemporary photographs and creative responses exploring Ballarat’s shops and businesses. Community events throughout the exhibition invited the people of Ballarat to contribute their images and memories to the BMI collection, and are shared here in this story.
This exhibition was curated by Amy Tsilemanis at the BMI who worked with artists Pauline O'Shannessy-Dowling and Margie Balazic, collector John Kerr and Ballarat businesses, council, and schools to create a 'generative' exhibition where material and collaborations could grow.
Wanting to know more about Ballarat’s booming business history? Take a digital tour of the exhibition here: https://invictoria.com.au/talking-shop-exhibition
The Fashion Detective
The NGV’s fashion archive contains countless works about which we know little.
We don’t know who made them, who wore them, when or why, or indeed, what happened in them! For the curator, such works are endlessly intriguing; a form of ‘material evidence’ to examine and explicate.
In 2014, the NGV’s Fashion Detective exhibition took a selection of unattributed nineteenth century garments and accessories from the Australian fashion and textiles collection as the starting point for a series of investigations. Using forensics and fiction as alternate interpretative methods, the exhibition considered the detective work that curators and conservators do and where this can lead, as well as the role of storytelling in making visible the social life of clothes.
From fakes and forgeries to poisonous dyes, concealed clues and mysterious marks to missing persons, Fashion Detective was a series of ‘cases’ that each followed a different path of analysis.
Some relied on empirical study and science to reach conclusions, others were purposefully speculative - the inspired hypothesis of leading crime writers Garry Disher, Kerry Greenwood, Sulari Gentill and Lili Wilkinson.
A playful exhibition about modes of enquiry, Fashion Detective considered the different ways in which we can decode objects in order to reveal what is normally concealed, and challenged the visitor to reappraise what they see and what they know.
Stories of Support
The 2016 Museums Australia (Victoria) Conference held at Phillip Island in October, was the inspiration for this story. A drive around the Island on arrival unearthed a surprise in Newhaven - the former Boys Home standing silent and abandoned, looming over the ocean.
Care homes were once an essential part of Victorian life. The gold rush and population increase in Victoria created a need for charitable organisations to provide care to those who could not care for themselves, most notably children. Providers of care have also included societies for people with special needs including the 'Deaf and Dumb', and the asylums and hospitals of Victoria. This continued until the late 20th century when reform was prompted by revelations of abuse in the institutional system. The care model has since shifted towards kinship and foster services.
Victoria’s former institutions of care are an important part of our history. Whilst many of the buildings—often architecturally brilliant— no longer exist, they are remembered through the photographs and artefacts held by collecting organisations across the state and catalogued here on Victorian Collections.