German Cavalry Saddlebag

Horse Saddlebag, 1914-1918 World War One marked a transitional period in the use of the horse in warfare. Cavalry had limited use after 1914 on the Western Front, where entrenched positions, and extensive barbed wire and machine gun emplacements, prevented their traditional function of breaking up enemy infantry concentrations. After the Boer War (1899-1902) British […]

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Mary Fenton Whitelaw’s Ball Gown (1867)

DRESS WORN BY MARY FENTON WHITELAW FOR ROYAL BALL IN BALLARAT, 1867 Mary Fenton Whitelaw’s green silk gown from 1867 is one of the highlights of the Gold Museum’s Costume Collection. At the age of 17, she wore it to an exclusive ball in Ballarat, to celebrate the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Alfred, […]

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Fake “Mermaid” Photograph

PHOTOGRAPH OF A “MERMAID”: AN EXAMPLE OF A POPULAR FORM OF FAKES AND HOAXES This unusual photograph was donated as part of a larger collection of social history items relating to a local Ballarat family. The donor’s father had a keen interest in photography, collecting images as well as taking them himself. The donor believes […]

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Phoenix Foundry Model Locomotive Engine

MODEL LOCOMOTIVE ENGINE CREATED BY APPRENTICES FROM THE PHOENIX FOUNDRY, BALLARAT One of the highlights from the Ballarat Historical Society Collection is this working model of a locomotive engine. It was manufactured by five apprentices from the local Phoenix Foundry Company for the Australian Juvenile Industrial Exhibition held in Ballarat in 1878.

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Eliza Perrin: An “Ordinary” Woman of the Goldfields

ELIZA PERRIN: THE STORY OF AN ORDINARY WOMAN ON THE BALLARAT GOLDFIELDS Life on the Ballarat goldfields in the mid-nineteenth century was hard enough for a man trying to make a living and survive, but for a miner’s wife it could be even more difficult, as her own fortunes were bound to the decisions her husband […]

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S.T. Gill: The Artist of the Goldfields

ARTIST OF THE GOLDFIELDS: SAMUEL THOMAS GILL The Gold Museum holds a large collection of artworks by Samuel Thomas Gill (1818-1880), better known to history as S.T. Gill, or ‘the Artist of the Goldfields.’ As there are few photographs from the 1850s and 60s still in existence, his vivid illustrations provide some of the best examples […]

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Miniature Tombstone

This is the first post in a series that will examine some of the highlights of our collection. Miniature Tombstone (1890s) Image: Ballarat Historical Society Collection (78.0712) This tombstone, standing only 34 cm tall, was placed in the centre of Sturt Street, Ballarat by protesting cab drivers in the 1890s. The Mayor of the day, Councillor […]

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