Central NSW Museums

Central NSW Museums websiteVisiting the museums and historic sites of the Orange, Cabonne, Blayney District provides an opportunity to experience the rural lifestyle of Australians at the time of Federation. Being able to see a 100 year old photo, farm machinery or tools used to craft the pioneer homes gives an appreciation of rural technology as well as the spirit of personal endeavour.

Explore the region through its Regional Museums Heritage Trail. Absorb the history and heritage of Australia’s colourful past. Explore Central NSW Museums

Your Story Your Museum – Community Displays

Orange Regional Museum is calling on all local community organizations to share their stories and objects.

Orange Regional Museum is launching the ‘Community Case’ program to exhibit, share and record significant local stories.

Community organizations are encouraged to apply to display their objects and stories in the foyer of the Museum for three months during 2018.
Organizations will be assisted by the Museum team to curate displays and exhibit objects.

In 2018 Orange Regional Museum hopes to have three ‘Community Case’ displays on show from late April 2018. Applications are now open and will close at 5pm on Friday 9 March.

Community organizations can find out more and complete an application here or contact Orange Regional Museum on 02 6393 8444.

Object in focus: Wheat flail from Molong

By Sandra McEwen, Consultant Curator, Paddock to Plate: a history of food and wine in Orange and district

It’s not often that I’m lost for words…but it happened recently. I was rummaging in a cupboard at Molong Historical Museum, looking for treasures. Suddenly, out of the darkness emerged a wheat flail that was made and used in 1873. The label attached indicated that Sam Clarke used it on his first wheat crop grown at Home Plain, Grega. It wasn’t just a wheat flail. It was one in excellent condition, with a complete story!

Wheat flails were used for the horrible job of beating (winnowing) the outer casings off ears of wheat to produce clean grain. The user hung on to the longer stick and thrashed the wheat with the short one. Leather tied the two sticks together. In 1884 the task was taken over by stripper-harvesters that could both reap the heads off wheat stalks and winnow them to harvest grain in one operation.

Wheat flails weren’t precious, so not many have survived to tell their tales. This discovery at Molong reinforced for me what an important role small regional museums play in preserving the treasures of our rural past. That little wheat flail sat undisturbed in the dark for many, many years, just waiting for its time to shine. The exhibition will be full of gems similar to this one. Whatever you do, don’t miss it!

Image above: Sam Clarke’s Flail, c.1873. Loan courtesy Molong Historical Museum

Bookings Open For Market Stalls

Market to be held at Orange Cultural Precinct on
Saturday 7th April 2018 to celebrate the opening of Orange Regional Museum’s exhibition:

Paddock to Plate: a history of food and wine in Orange & district

More information and how to book a stall can be found in the following documents

Prospective Stallholder Information
Risk Assessment for Stallholders
Stallholder Application

Please contact 02 6393 8444 or jdowdell@orange.nsw.gov.au for more information.

Up Late in Orange: Dance and Music in Orange from the 20s-60s

South Court, Byng Street, Orange Cultural Precinct

Orange has a colorful history of dance halls and music. For this special Up Late event halls and dances from the 20s-60s will be celebrated with dance workshops, historical displays, music and more.

More details will be released soon. Follow Orange Regional Museum on Facebook for updates.

Free event

Bookings essential 02 6393 8444 or https://danceorange.eventbrite.com.au

Family Fun: Kids Choice

Sat 3 Feb, 10am-3pm

As the exhibition Journeys: people place stories draws to a close join in a day of all our most popular family activities from the past year. There will be volcanoes, snow globes, trains, finger painting, print making and more!

Activities will be running from 10am-3pm and you can join in at any time. Please book a place via the link below to ensure there are enough materials for all children to participate.

Free event, bookings required 02 6393 8444 or kidschoice.eventbrite.com.au

Roses from the Heart

Did your female convict ancestor live in Orange?

From Thursday 21st September Orange Regional Museum will host the Roses from the Heart art installation as a part of the ACT and NSW Family History Societies Conference.

Roses from the Heart is a unique memorial to the 25,566 convict women transported to Australia from Britain and Ireland from 1788 to 1853. The installation will include hundreds of bonnets each with the name of a female convict and the ship which brought them the Australia.

The installation is the creation of artist Christina Henri who has worked with groups from all over the world to produce the bonnets in memory of convict women.

As a part of the display in Orange two bonnets have been created to represent two female convicts who ended up in Orange. They are Cato Caroline Clemens or Clements who married Joseph Moulder, and Constance Couronne or Constance de la Sabloniere.

The bonnet for Cato Clemens has been made by the Mrs Ruth Kingham and the bonnet for Constance Couronne has been made by Orange Family History Group member Julie Milne.

Julie commented that “The research was given to me and I was very surprised when I saw a photo of her – this tiny little lady from Mauritius. She is my great great grandmother and I discovered her 20 years ago,”

“I’m more interested and excited about her now. I need to start the research again. A young cousin went further into it and discovered her father was an American Indian – I don’t know if that’s true.

I’d like to do a DNA test and see if that American Indian part comes out.”

“I will do more research eventually and also do the other side of my family – the Urens – a goldmining family at Ophir,”

Central West Libraries Manager Jan Richards said people can contribute their own bonnets representing their female convict ancestors to the project using bonnet patterns from the website http://rosesfromtheheart.tumblr.com/

As a part of the ACT and NSW Family History Societies Conference, hosted by Orange City Library, artist Christina Henri will give a presentation on Roses from the Heart and the development of the installation. The display will open for the duration of the conference (Friday 22 September – Sunday 24 September) and remain on display until February 2018.

“Our Conference keynote address on the Saturday morning will be given by Christina Henri who will recount the stories of our female convict ancestors as relayed through her Roses of the Heart project,” Ms Richards said.

“Christina will be followed by talks on gaolbird ancestors; telling the family story through food; dating family photos through dress and Irish famine orphans,” she said.

An Orange teenager, an estimable citizen and a spy

All objects have stories and by doing a little bit of research it is possible to uncover fascinating details which give meaning and insight to even the most mundane items.

The first two pages of this child’s French language text book provide links to the unique stories of the owners, retailer and author of the book. The stories behind the people linked to the text book provide a richness and depth to an otherwise unremarkable object.

Image: ‘French Without Tears’, Lady Bell, London, c 1910 ORM2017/197 Gift of the Gartrell Family



“French without Tears” was first owned by Miss Doris Maud Gartrell from 1912. Doris was also know by her second name, Maud. Doris was the daughter of Alfred Gartrell and Alison Gartrell (nee Brown) who were married at Orange Presbyterian Church in 1890. The book was passed on to Evelyn Gartrell, Maud’s younger sister, in 1924 and was used at Orange High School.

Hand written in black ink along the top edge of the front cover is “Doris M. Gartrell / High / Orange”. On the inside front leaf is “M. Evelyn Gartrell / 1AC & 2AC Orange High School / 1924-1925” and “Maud Gartrell  / High School  / Orange.  / 7th Class.  / Feb 7th 1912 / N.S. Wales”.

The Gartrell family, headed by James and Mary Ann Gartrell, first arrived in Australia from Cornwall, via the United States, in 1877. The many subsequent generations of the family have had a significant impact on Orange, establishing successful dairies, orchards and vineyards. Descendants of the Gartrell family still reside in Orange to this day.

Doris Maud Gartrell, photograph, Gift of the Gartrell Family
Evelyn Gartrell, photograph, Gift of the Gartrell Family


Image: Inside front cover ‘French Without Tears’, Lady Bell, London, c 1910 ORM2017/197 Gift of the Gartrell Family



The retailer of this book was “W.E.G. Satchell – Bookseller & Stationer”, as indicated by an ink stamp on the fly leaf. Satchell was a long term Orange resident and businessman who successfully ran his business in Summer Street for over 23 years. Obituaries published after William Edward Gould Satchell’s death in 1926 shed light on his influence in Orange.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 27 July 1926
Death of Mr. W. E. G. Satchell. Orange
The death has occurred of Mr. W. E.    G. Satchell at the age of 62 years. He had been an invalid for over 10 months. For more than 26 years he was one of the most progressive business men of the town. He was a man of wide outlook in commercial life, of the strictest integrity, and a prominent member of the Church of England.’

Wellington Times (NSW : 1899 – 1954), Monday 2 August 1926, page 1
The Late Mr. W. E. G. Satchell.
The following interesting article is from the Orange. ‘Advocate’: — ‘This estimable citizen, whilst temperamentally unwilling to be foremost, in public concerns, but rather a silent and generous supporter of every good and benevolent cause, after a long illness patiently endured, and lovingly attended by the most skillful and assiduous of nurses, two of his own daughters, Miss Edith and Miss Vida Satchell, passed to his rest on Saturday morning, 24th July, at 5 o’clock. He was a native of Liverpool, England, and 62 years of age. Coming to Orange 23 years ago from Wellington, he purchased a small book; and stationery business. His great business ability soon brought him increased trade, and at the time of his retirement Satchell’s was recognised as the largest business of its kind in the west. Mr. Satchell had great faith in the future of Orange, and he erected in Summer Street a most attractive pile of buildings that are one of the features of our main thoroughfare. No name was held in greater respect in the business life of Orange, than that of William Edward Gould Satchell.


Lady Florence Bell was a British writer and playwright who published eight works during her career. These works included three volumes of French without Tears, Twelve tiny French plays for children and two volumes of The Letters of Gertrude Bell.

Florence Olliffe married Sir Thomas Hugh Bell, the second Baronet Bell of Rounton Grange, becoming Lady Florence Bell in 1871. Along with the title, Florence became stepmother to Gertrude Bell. Gertrude was a writer, explorer, archaeologist, and spy during the early 1900s. She worked throughout the Middle East prior to WWI. After the outbreak of war she served with the Red Cross in France before transferring to British intelligence. As an intelligence officer she was tasked with getting soldiers through the deserts she had previously documented whilst working as an archaeologist. Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Gertrude was instrumental in the formation of Iraq as a self-governing monarchy. Working with Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) she oversaw the appointment of Fasisal bin Hussenin as the first King of Iraq.

Following WWI Gertrude remained in Iraq and helped to establish the National Library of Iraq and the Baghdad Archeological Museum. After her death in 1926 she was remembered for ‘her taste for arduous and dangerous adventure with her scientific interest and knowledge, her competence in archaeology and art, her distinguished literary gift, her sympathy for all sorts and condition of men, her political insight and appreciation of human values, her masculine vigour, hard common sense and practical efficiency – all tempered by feminine charm and a most romantic spirit’[1]

Gertrude was heavily influenced by the work of her father, factory owner Sir Thomas Bell, who played a major role in encouraging a change of attitudes towards the welfare of workers and the value of education.

Along with her other literary works Lady Florence Bell published two volumes of Gertrude’s correspondence from her twenty year career prior to WWI.

Image: Gertrude Bell, aged 41, outside her tent, Babylon, Iraq, 1909, ©Gertrude Bell Archive

[1] Obituary: Gertrude Lowthian Bell, D. G. Hogarth, The Geographical Journal , Vol. 68, No. 4 (Oct., 1926), pp. 363-368


How do we know?

 ORM 2017/178 Napkin ring, Gift of the Gartrell family Stokes & Sons, EPNS napkin ring with engraved floral motif and beaded edges

An object can tell many stories, and sometimes a bit of investigation is required to find out all of its secrets.

Most pieces of silver or plateware will feature a manufacturer’s mark. These marks can help you identify where the object was made, by whom and when. This napkin ring, recently donated to Orange Regional Museum, has a manufacturer’s mark featuring a six pointed star with an “S” within, and an upturned boomerang above. Under the star and boomerang are the letters “EPNS S&S”.

ORM 2017/178 Napkin ring

We know that “EPNS” refers to the material the napkin ring is made of, electroplated nickel silver. To identify the other marks on the napkin ring we used a few simple online resources; firstly the directory of Australian Silversmiths (http://www.silvercollection.it/AUSTRALIASILVERSMITHSA.html) which gives an alphabetical list of silversmiths and marks. Assuming that the “S” is significant as it appears within the star and is also feature in the last section of the mark “S&S”, a quick look under ‘S’ leads us to a very similar mark by Thomas Stokes who was active in Melbourne from the 1850s.

Using this information we then verify the mark through a matching example in another museum’s collection. On this occasion we searched the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences’ (MAAS) collection. Searching by the term ‘Thomas Stokes’ in the online catalogue (https://collection.maas.museum/) we find a decorative napkin ring made by Stokes and Sons in Melbourne c1920 with a matching manufacturer’s mark (https://collection.maas.museum/object/11681#&gid=1&pid=3).

Having positively identified the mark we conclude that the “S&S” refers to Stokes and Sons. Thomas Stokes emigrated from England in the 1850s and by 1856 had established himself as prominent a metalwork silverware producer. From 1896 Thomas’s sons, Harry, Thomas Jr. and Vincent, joined the firm and it began trading as Stokes & Sons. The MAAS has undertaken research into the manufacturer allowing us to establish a date range of manufacture as being between 1896 and 1920 by Thomas Stokes and his sons at their factory on Caledonian Lane, Melbourne, Victoria.

Why not see if you can find out about your own objects at home? We would love to hear about any discoveries.


Chinese Migration to Orange and District

Chinese Migration to Orange and District

A new exhibit at Orange Regional Museum examines Chinese Migration to Orange and the district. This display tells the story of the first wave of Chinese migration, in the 1840s, to the establishment of market gardens and businesses that formed core components of our regional communities during the first half of the 20th century.

One of the highlights is a reconstructed Chinese opium tin found on the gold fields of Ophir by local metal detectorist Bill Schmich. Tins of this type would have been used by migrants who came to Australia to seek their fortune during the gold rushes of the 1860s-1890s.

The exhibit will also feature a collection of Chinese ginger jars found near Dalton and Woodward Streets, Orange. These jars would have been used by local Chinese market gardeners.

A ledger book details how Chinese migrants lived, what they ate, what they bought and how much they were paid. The ledger book on display from Crosshills Station near Moorilda notes payment from August 1883 to a group of Chinese scrubbers (land clearers) for 2 pounds per acre, about $300 in today’s money.

The ledger also gives insight into how the migrants lived. For example the ledgers show us the migrants bought extraordinary amounts of sugar. One entry dated April 1 1888 shows a purchase of 22 pounds of sugar for 10 shillings (approx. $65 today).

Chinese Migration: To the Orange District will open on Friday 19 May from 10am until March 2018.

Orange Regional Museum is open Monday – Sunday 9am-5pm.

Top: Reconstructed opium tin from fragments found at Ophir, 1850s.  Loan courtesy of the Schmich family.
Centre: Ginger jars, 19th century.  Loan courtesy of the Schmich Family.
Bottom: Ledger book, Crosshill Station, 1875-1888.  Loan courtesy of the Brown family.

The bad luck of Mr. F.H Brown

A fascinating link to Orange’s past is presented by a glass cordial bottle with the name ‘F.H BROWN EAST ORANGE’ moulded on the front.  Held in Orange Regional Museum’s collection, the bottle was found in the East Orange Channel by Orange City Council staff during works undertaken in 2016.

Glass cordial bottle, ‘F.H BROWN EAST ORANGE’, found in the East Orange Channel during works in 2016. ORM2016/227  Orange Regional Museum collection

Mr. F.H Brown was not Orange’s luckiest man, his cordial factory on Autumn Street in East Orange was up for sale in September 1914. However the sale did not go ahead as another article published by the Orange Leader reports his breach of the industrial act in July 1915. F.H Brown was fined for failing to keep time sheets and for pay sheets not being correctly written. His defense was that they were most likely placed in the waste paper basket.  Found guilty Mr. Brown was fined £1.

Bad luck continued when Mr. F.H Brown’s cordial factory was destroyed by fire on Friday 13th December 1918. £1050 (over $50,000 in today’s money) worth of damage was done to the factory and machinery.

The fire seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for Mr. Brown as between February 1919 and late 1920 notices for the sale of a car, carts, wagons, scales, pumps and pipes were advertised in the local paper.

The bottle is a codd design that was used for carbonated drinks. This type of bottle is closed by a glass marble in the neck and a rubber seal in the lip. The bottles were filled upside down and the pressure of the carbonated drink closed the marble against the rubber seal. When opened the marble would fall into a larger chamber in the neck allowing the drink to be poured.

Because of the inclusion of the marble many of these bottles were broken after use to retrieve the marble for children’s entertainment. The bottle in the museum’s collection seems to have be broken for this purpose.