18th Australiana Virtual Show and Tell Report

Bronze medal for proficiency in swimming with reference to saving life. Diameter 52 mm (2 inches)
Mint: attributed to Stokes and Martin (Melbourne) by Museum Victoria. Awarded to Henry S Fredman 31 March 1902.

The Royal Humane Society of Australasia Pupil Award Medal
Bronze medal for proficiency in swimming with reference to saving life.

The Royal Humane Society of Australasia (RHSA) was established in 1874 and originally called the Victorian Humane Society. In 1882, the directors of the society obtained Queen Victoria’s consent to alter its name to the ‘Royal Humane Society of Australasia’. In 1886, the Society extended its operations to encompass the whole of Australia and Fiji, thus becoming the first federal institution in Australia.

Medals were issued for saving life and school swimming events. The above medal was for the latter. Bronze school medals were given to pupils for ‘practical demonstration of ability to swim to the relief of a drowning person and effect his rescue and resuscitation.’

State schools could apply for one medallion without payment, and private schools could apply for one at a cost of half a guinea. Two certificates could be awarded at these events for a ‘boy and girl’ for the best theoretical knowledge for saving life in the case of drowning, snake bite, choking, sunstroke, bleeding, fainting and apoplexy, on the payment of another contribution.

A listing of all RHSA medals is available on the web:

Australian Country Women’s Crafts’ book
The CWA of Victoria was established in 1928 and today has 300 branches and 5,000 members. Each state in Australia has their own CWA with the same aim; helping women and children in rural areas. The national body, CWA of Australia, ceased early this year (2022).

A boom time in collecting and making all things Australiana in 1986. This hard covered book with 112 pages, A4 in size, is beautifully illustrated with many colour plates.

It provides instruction for canvas work, lace, patchwork, crochet, knitting, general needlecraft and Australian Crafts (working with gum nuts, wool, and bark). The themes are focused on Australian fauna and flora and include koalas, blue wrens, emus, bottle brushes, outback scenes, penguins, cockatoos and swagmen. This book was acquired recently in a rural South Australia op shop.

Description: Loyalty Despatch, Bicycle Courier, 1901–1951, Coat of Arms, Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations. Dimensions (h x w) minus strap 2.5 cm x 4 cm.. This example is missing its strap which formed part of the tag, intended to be attached to the bicycle frame.

Jubilee Celebration Loyalty Despatch Bicycle Courier Seal
As part of Australia’s Jubilee Celebrations in 1951, Hubert Opperman MHR (1904–1996), a former Australian cycling world champion, promoted the scheme of relay cycling from local towns all over Australia to Canberra. All were to reach Canberra ‘about midday 8 May’ 1951. The cyclists would carry messages of goodwill and loyalty to Australia’s capital, while having the seal above attached to their bicycle. These official couriers would collect signed pledges of loyalty from towns and villages en route.

The three main courier cyclists Vic Waltham, L Cecil and J Montgomery rode from Darwin, Cairns and Sale (Victoria) respectively. Upon arrival in Canberra, Sergeant Waltham, a West Australian policeman told the Prime Minister Mr Menzies, that ‘the Central Australian aborigines had over whelmed him with requests to take loyalty messages to the “big fella king”. They wanted to overload me with spears, boomerangs or carved message sticks.’
European migrant children living in Cowra conveyed their loyalty and allegiance to Australia, declaring they had found security and happiness in this their new homeland.

Over 300,000 loyalty messages were collected by the cyclists and were officially handed over to the government. It was claimed ‘that 250,000 courier and escort cyclists rode more than one million miles and collected messages from 5,000 different settlements.’

The messages came from as far as New Guinea, New Zealand and Norfolk Island. New Guinea messages were carried over the Kokoda trail by foot to Port Moresby and then flown to Melbourne.

The arrival was broadcast on radio throughout Australia.

Best wishes for Christmas and Victory in the New Year c 1944 Artist and printer unknown. 12.5 cm x 15 cm (folded)

WWII Season’s Greetings Card
This wartime seasons greeting card was printed for Australian soldiers at the Front. It avoided potential censorship issues and expressed that the soldiers were thinking of their loved ones back home. This card was funded by the ACF (Australian Comforts Fund), YMCA, Salvation Army and YWCA. The propaganda image depicts troops crossing a river and smiling, indicating that they were in good spirits.

This card was sent by Allen and addressed to his Darling Mum and all the Family.

Similar cards with different scenes were given to servicemen and women during the war years and were funded by the same and other organizations.

Receiving this and similar cards during the Festive Season would have brought joy and comfort to those that received the card. Maintaining morale was highly important during the war years.

Editor’s Note: Has the Australian War Memorial an example of this card? We could not find one listed In the collection online.

WWII Hamper Card
In the AWM collection, an Australian Comforts Fund card designed to be sent with a hamper to Australians serving overseas in WWII.

One half of the card is detachable so the recipient can return it to the sender with a message. The card has a message of thanks and encouragement for the recipient and is decorated with drawing of a soldier, a sailor and an airman.

Artist and printer unknown. c 1939-1945. Section shown 14 cm x 12.4 cm
Matchbox Holder Design No 576A, c 1936 Length 30 cm

Matchbox Holder
At the South Australian Centennial Exhibition held at the Adelaide showgrounds in March 1936 there was a display of mulga wood souvenirs with gold inscription of the State’s celebration. Boomerangs, paper knives, pens, inkstands, and vases were among the favoured designs, the matchbox holder less so.

While there is no maker’s name, it was probably made at The Wiley Woodcrafts Ltd factory in Pulsford Road, Prospect an inner northern suburb of Adelaide.

Albert J. Wiley arrived in South Australia on the Ashmore and shortly after, in 1887 moved into his Pulsford Road home and lived there till his death in 1947.
He ran a woodturning business there from about 1902, and won a medal at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. By the 1930s Wiley had become a specialist in ornaments, jars, boxes using different types of Australian timbers.

In 1938 he inspired Fred Eaton, camp missionary at Nepabunna, to install lathes at the mission in order to teach woodturning to the Aborigines under his care. Wiley made cricket stumps for the 1947 Test match held at the Adelaide Oval and an artificial leg for an Aboriginal woman.

Mouth-watering Mary Pumpkin quality sweets and candies, 1970 Box, wood, hinged (h x w x d) 11 cm x 21 cm x 4.5 cm.

Mary Pumpkin Sweets and Candies
For a special treat, Mary Pumpkin hand-made chocolates and candies, 1lb box, $1.85. Or take home an 8oz box of Mary Pumpkin After Dinner Mints, rich, creamy peppermints in candy striped box, 95c. The product is marked ‘David Jones’ For Service’.

Other groceries made to David Jones’ exacting standards in 1970 were:

Coffee 49c for 8 oz (227g)
Butter 55c for 1 lb (454g)
Honey 29c for 1 lb (454g)
Assam Tea 32c for 8 oz (227g)

Editor’s Note: For just over 50 years this box has held the owner’s small pieces of crochet work and a selection of crochet hooks.

Paper backing 7 cm x 6 cm, cut black card silhouette highlighted with gold wax & pen/pencil? Possible Artists? Samuel Clayton (1783-1853) or William Fernyhough (1809-1849)

Mary Pumpkin Sweets and Candies
Egan had strong masonic connections and was in the same lodge 820 E C (English Constitution) with the engraver Samuel Clayton. He was very much the social climber and just the sort of person to commission a silhouette of himself.

Was this the ‘likeness in profile, now in the London style’ that Clayton advertised using a much improved and systematic machine? He advertised that the likeness was particularly portable and could be conveyed to relatives or friends anywhere in the world (SG 4 Nov 1820 p 2).

Fernyhough was well known for his portrait silhouettes of Aborigines and Sydney personalities (often with a touch of humour).

Egan was born in Windsor NSW, he worked as a foreman and master boat builder at the government dockyard in Sydney until it closed in 1835. He subsequently became a shipping agent, acquired several vessels and opened a wine and spirit shop in George St.

His second marriage in 1843, to widow Mary Ann (Marian) Cahuac, took place at St Mary’s Cathedral, and St James Anglican Church Sydney.

Marian, with her children Henry and Gertrude from her former marriage, perished in the wreck of the Dunbar at South Head on 20 August 1857. By 1844 he was styling himself as a gentleman, of 103 Hunter Street, later moving to Watsons Bay. He served on the City Council and was Mayor in 1853.

Daniel Egan was elected member of the Legislative Council for the pastoral district of Maneroo (Monaro) in 1854–56 and represented the same seat in the Legislative Assembly in 1856–59 and Eden in 1859–69. He again represented Monaro in 1870. He was Postmaster-General from 27 October 1868 until his death.

He died on 16 October 1870, aged 67, at Watsons Bay. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery at Petersham, causing consternation among zealots who objected to his alleged liaison with a woman. The body was secretly removed but re-interred after a parliamentary enquiry
in 1871.

Can You Identify Mystery Object?

Bone or Ivory object, before 1860. Length 80 mm, diameter 26 mm.

A four level restored townhouse built c1832 by Capt. John Nicholson RN in Dawes Point Sydney was visited by members of the Australiana Society in March 2022.

See Australiana Feb 2011, Vol 33 No 1 for an article on the christening mug belonging to Captain Nicholson’s granddaughter.

During excavation of the original basement kitchen and service rooms floor that had been concreted over, long forgotten and often broken objects and parts were unearthed adding another layer to the house’s long history. In the now termed “gloom room” this small ivory or bone object (pre 1860) was discovered by the owners. It partly unscrews and gives the impression there was originally more to the object.

Editor’s Note: If you are able to help identify the object please contact the editor by email at pnj.lane@bigpond.com and he will pass on your thoughts to the owners and publish the results in the next report.

Dame Merlyn Myer (nee Baillieu) Plate

Hunt & Roskell were jewellers by appointment to the British Royal Family in the 19th century. Originally the business was owned by renowned silversmith Paul Storr, followed by an association with John Mortimer as Storr & Mortimer. The association of Mortimer with the Hunts followed and ultimately the business Hunt & Roskell was formed in 1865.

The item bears a later engraving circa 1960 of the arms of Dame Merlyn Myer (nee Baillieu) (1900–1982). Myer impaling Baillieu on a lozenge (indicating she was a widow?), surrounded by the riband and insignia of a Dame Commander (Civil) of the Order of the British Empire.

Dame Merlyn Myer daughter, of George Francis Baillieu and Agnes Sheehan, was an Australian philanthropist notable for her charitable work. In 1920 Dame Merlyn married Melbourne businessman Sidney Myer who established the Myer retail company. They had four children who were all born in America and in 1929 the family returned to Australia. Her husband died in 1934.

Shortly after his death she joined the Board of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, a position she held until 1976. She was a member of the National Council of Australian Red Cross Society, and helped to establish the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.

In 1948 she was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire and in 1960 was elevated to Dame Commander.


Call for Australiana Volunteers
We need 10 articles every 2 months
Tell us about your items: humble or valuable
Tell your children you answered the call in the hour of need! Do your Bit

Editorial Team

Peter Lane pnj.lane@bigpond.com

Yvonne Barber ypbarber@hotmail.com

To join the editorial team or submit an item for the VS&T Report, please contact Peter at pnj.lane@bigpond.com