Category Archives: Collection

Pollard’s Blacksmith Shop

Museum Musings- A QDHMS series published in the Queanbeyan Age


One of the treasures of the Queanbeyan Museum is a Blacksmith Shop, from about 1900.  It is a slab structure, with later repairs to the walls and installation of a new corrugated iron roof made by QDHMS. It contains tools of the smith’s trade including: bellows, forge, and hand made tools, donated by Keith Pollard (1924-2007). Donation of an anvil came from the James Francis Denny collection and the farrier’s clamp from Philip Cancillier.

The Pollard family are graziers in the Michelago district, near Queanbeyan. The Museum’s blacksmith shop came from their property Tinderry Vale. It is believed the structure was on the property when purchased from the Egan family, who originally settled the property in 1863. Two bachelor brothers, Dave and Tom were the last of the Egans and they could have built the smithy.

 The Work of the Blacksmith

These were the days when useful items had to be made by hand. The smith created items from iron or steel by forging the metal, which was heated until it glowed red, then orange, yellow and white would be the hottest. The ideal heat for forging is a bright yellow orange colour. The smithy worked in dim conditions so he could judge the right colour of the metal. In order to get the heat required to forge iron a large bellows was used to blow a stream of air over the bed of charcoal or coke in the forge to make it burn faster. Tools were used to hammer, bend, cut and shape objects against the anvil to produce items such as horseshoes, farm tools, nails, latches, hinges, hammers, axes, chisels, fitted iron tires and hub rings for carts.

The advent of the motor car, tractors and manufactured goods spelt the end of the usefulness of the blacksmith shop.

The Song of Queanbeyan, 1938

Museum Musings- A QDHMS series published in the Queanbeyan AgeEF 129 Qbn song page 2 bath269_2

Queanbeyan Museum has valuable souvenirs of when Queanbeyan was a hundred years old. These are manuscripts and a recording of a song especially written for the occasion.

The recording, on a gramophone record  called Queanbeyan Centenary Songs, sung and played by Jack Lumsdaine, has an interesting note: Donated by Mrs Roffe (Ruth) (daughter of Stan Mason) Mrs Roffe’s first job in 1941 was at 2CA. Feeling against Queanbeyan was such that when leaving the job, she was handed this record and told “here, you might as well take this with you”.

The Song of Queanbeyan was written in 1938 for the Centenary of Queanbeyan celebrations. It was one of a number of songs submitted to the Centenary Committee and chosen by them and subsequently copyrighted by the committee.

The song was written by Evelyn Grieg, who wrote several such themed songs, but signed the song over to the Mayor of Queanbeyan, John Esmond, and the Committee organising secretary, E. Colin Davis, for ten guineas.

Evelyn Grieg was a well known musician who wrote a number of similar songs such as The Song of Sydney, Our Land Australia and Australian Battle Cry (NLA MusicAustralia). She had been a vocal coach in New York and was a musical advisor at the ABC in Sydney.

The Song of Queanbeyan
Verse One
At set of sun when day is done,
and night is drawing nigh
The old folk sit at the open door
and talk of days gone by
Then Grandad tells how long ago
when he was a young bushman
He founded a homestead on the plain
at a place called Queanbeyan

Queanbeyan, Queanbeyan,
I always long for you,
The open plains, the golden grain,
beneath the skies of blue,
Tho near or far where ere I roam,
Just like a boomerang,
I’ll always come back to the dear old home
in Queanbeyan