William and Nina Farrer’s Piano, c1890

Museum Musings- A QDHMS series published in the Queanbeyan Age


William Farrer of Lambrigg is famous for his development of rust resistant wheat, earning the title of “father” of the Australian wheat industry. In 1882 Farrer married Henrietta Nina the only daughter of Leopold Fane de Salis, the then Member of Parliament for Queanbeyan.

Queanbeyan Museum is fortunate to possess a piano belonging to Nina. The piano is a small upright piano made in the 19th century by A.H. Francke of Liepzig. External condition and detailing is good, with candle holders and carved legs all undamaged. The keys are all still intact, however the piano’s internal works are damaged. It is wood veneer and has a very attractive warm patina.

The piano is connected to a significant families in the early history of Queanbeyan and to Queanbeyan Museum, in its association of place, Nina’s father having been a Magistrate since 1844 and the Old Police Sergeant’s Residence being the only building left out of the complex of Government buildings that stood here: the Courthouse, police station and Post Office. The Museum is also connected to local commemoration of Farrer, being situated in Farrer Place which contains a bust of Farrer sculpted by Rayner Hoff.