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

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.


Its a Long Way to Tipperary!


Its a Long Way to Tipperary! This souvenir scarf belonged to Queanbeyan soldier Trooper H Cantle of the 12th Light Horse Regiment AIF. Enlisted 7th August 1915. Discharged 21st October 1919.  He also served in the Second World War. Drop along to our Museum Open Day this Saturday 11-4 to see the original scarf in our WW1 exhibition, locals in authentic WW1 uniforms, hear a wonderful concert The Riderless Horse – Australian Songs from WW1 and see The ANZAC Reels a compilation of footage from The NFSA collection, there will be food and drink. Check out the rest of the Museum displays while you are there!




Collection Highlight – 78 rpm Records

_DSC4106_DSC4072IMG_2330_2I have been working on packaging and photographing a collection comprising 35 78-rpm shellac discs, which will be featured on the 45 Pieces of Queanbeyan online exhibition along with a portable gramophone. The collection was donated by Muriel Hasler and played by a local family who were descendents of Blewitts of Lobb Hole. There is one cover proudly promoting: REG. LUNDIE, Federal Emporium, BUNGENDORE. “The Tall man with  the Short Prices.” Photographing this record collection made me reflect on the progress of sound technology. As today we tend to store music in the cloud purchased virtually from Itunes, a single track or a whole set, and listen to it in a small portable device, a computer, tablet or phone.

This particular 78-rpm collection provides us a glimpse of music played and danced to in Queanbeyan during the 1920s. Tracks such as A Thousand Miles from Here, 1924 played by Carl Fenton’s Orchestra or Hi, Ho the Merrio, 1926 by Irving Aaronson, describes the musical zeitgeist of the 1920s, the first one with dark lyrics yet in a bright tune, and the second one describing a man being happy and in love. Whether this music was limited to private households I tend to think the fox trot was the hip-hop of its generation, loud, edgy and fashionable forward, after all it became popular and fashionable across the world after the first Great War. Most of the 78s in this collection were produced by Regal, Brunswick, Parlophone, Zonophone and Columbia records.

The 78s are 10 inches or 25 cms in diameter and double sided containing only two tracks. Each track lasts approximately 3 minutes 45 seconds. Advertising slogans as ‘Surface smooth as glass’ or ‘His Masters Voice’ or ‘Two Good Selections on Every Brunswick Record’ were catchy phrases companies used to advertise these. As a note of interest, all these 78s have a miniature royalty stamp glued on to the record’s label. This stamp reflects the royalties paid to the artists by the record companies.

Ximena Briceno, Museum Assistant