Our Heritage,
Our Collection

Celebrating the City of Greater Geelong’s Heritage in 100 Objects.

Geelong is a community of collections and collectors. The City of Greater Geelong holds a rich and diverse Heritage Collection of over 12,000 objects. Spread across numerous locations throughout the region, the collection reflects Geelong’s history as a vibrant and progressive city.

The oldest artefacts in the collection date to the 1790s. There are mayoral chains, industrial machines, extensive maritime and wool collections. There is an ever-changing outdoor collection, which includes both monuments and public art. There are even confiscated contraband items from the old Geelong Gaol – handmade tattoo guns, shivs and drug paraphernalia.

In April 2020 the City of Greater Geelong finalised the report Our Heritage, Our Collection that lays the foundation for caring for managing and providing access to this extraordinary heritage collection.

We have hand-picked 100 treasures from the collection curated by the themes: WaggasWarWool and Work. If you would like to see other themes or objects on this site, jump to the about page to find out more and let us know.

We have hand-picked 50 treasures from the collection curated by the themes: War, Wool and Work. In time, more Geelong regional treasures will be added. If you would like to see other themes or objects on this site, jump to the about page to find out more and let us know.

12,373
Objects in collection
6
Sub-collections
$ 27.71
Value of collection (in millions)
258,938
Owners of the collection (Geelong residents)
Public Art, Monuments & Memorials

Belcher Fountain

The Belcher Fountain was created by the Britannia Ironworks in Derby, England and presented to the town of Geelong by Mayor GF Belcher at the end of his term in 1874. This drinking fountain is a testament to the Temperance Movement that advocated the restriction of alcoholic drinks. The fountain is one of the oldest heritage objects in Geelong’s Outdoor Collection.

Registration:
GOC 2
Date:
1978
National Wool Museum

Squatter: The Great Australian Game

Squatter is a wool themed boardgame. With more than 500,000 games sold in Australia as of 2007, it is the most successful board game ever produced in Australia. The National Wool Museum holds the original “Squatter” board game design package as well as several versions of all major alterations to the game, such as the change to decimal currency and an electronic version of the game.

Registration:
NWM - 7181, NWM - 6241, NWM - 6240, NWM - 6239, NWM - 6218, NWM - 6217, NWM - 6216
National Wool Museum

Domestic Wagga

Mrs Faulkner of Bendigo made this wagga for her father in his later years when a hot water bottle was considered too dangerous and a blanket was not warm enough. It was donated to the Running Stitch Collection by Mrs Faulkner after she saw their memorabilia exhibition curated by Murray Walker at the Museum of Victoria in 1985. Mrs Faulkner sent the wagga down on the train and Lois Densham picked it up from ‘Travellers Aid’ at Spencer Street station. Many of the quilts in the National Wool Museum Collection were originally part of the Running Stitch Collection.

Registration:
NWM - 1667
Date:
1945
Dimensions:
1900 x 1220
National Wool Museum

Child’s Coverlet

This coverlet was made for Chris Neyland by Rene Densham when he was born in 1953. The quilt was created from scraps of woollen fabric from clothing used in the family. It was used in Chris’ cot or pram when he was an infant. His aunt Lois Densham donated the quilt. Lois can remember the dark green fabric coming from a jacket she once wore and the blue tartan pieces from a skirt worn by Rene, her mother. Lois also remembers her mother being “a better piano player than a cook or a sewer”. According to her, the quilt was “made in the tradition of making do from a family who knew how”.

Registration:
NWM - 1673
Date:
1953
Dimensions:
700 x 980
National Wool Museum

Noble Comb by Prince Smith & Sons

A nobel comb separates short fibres (known as noils) while also blending long fibres (known as tops) together. The long fibres are used for worsted materials while the short fibres are used for woollen fabrics. Woollen materials are soft, bulky and fuzzy, such as a picnic blanket; whereas worsted materials are fine, smooth and crisp, such as a suit jacket. The Valley Worsted Mills in Geelong, now the Little Creatures Brewery, ran twelve noble combs up until 1981.

Registration:
NWM-1226
Dimensions:
2400h
National Wool Museum

WARM

WARM was a community project about why the earth is warming and what people can do about it. It was led by the artist collective called SEAM – Sustainable Environment Arts Movement. It comprises two large-scale artworks created by Lars Stenberg. First, a landscape scarred by coal mining. Second, the same landscape many decades later, regenerated and renewed after the closure of the coal mine. In 2016, 250 knitters from across Australia created more than 1,000 knitted pieces. During several days of installation, these knitted pieces were assembled to create the image of the renewed landscape. WARM was a sustainable project. All knitted elements were from left over, reused or organic wool. Any unavoidable emissions created as a result of delivering the project were offset by trees planted by Fifteen Trees. WARM has recently found a permanent home in the National Wool Museum’s Collection. Paintings by Lars Stenberg
Knitted pieces designed by Georgie Nicholson
Graphic design by Mel Stanger

Registration:
NWM - 8153
Date:
2016
National Wool Museum

THE WHITE FARM

The White Farm is a series of eleven artworks by Linda Gallus of a neglected sheep and cattle farm in Curlewis, Victoria. Purchased in 1994, the property was painted white for sale. The shearing shed has not been used since the sale and has turned to ruin over the last thirty years. Gallus was compelled to capture these buildings and their strange patina of white paint before nature reclaimed them completely. Two artworks from the series, Another Gust of Wind and Green Trough, are now part of the National Wool Museum Collection.

Registration:
NWM-8151
Date:
2020
Dimensions:
1000 x 500
National Wool Museum

Ferrier Wool Press

Invented by Joseph Ferrier in 1866, the patent was purchased by Humble & Sons who manufactured and distributed them from their Geelong foundry. The Ferrier Wool Press was used throughout Australia, New Zealand and Africa. Sent out as a flatpack, the press was put together on the farm. This press was made by Humble & Nicholson in Geelong in 1890 and sold to Shanahan Brothers in Birregurra. A key feature of any woolshed, this wool press needed three people to tip over the wool filled top box before it was pressed into the lower box using the lever. It is an early example of Geelong’s long history of design, invention and manufacturing.

Registration:
NWM-2951
National Wool Museum

Mr Stephens' Wagga

This wagga is made from men’s suits and coats, unpicked and sewn together. It was made by the great uncle of George Stephens. Mr Stephens was a mining engineer from 1885 to 1915 in Stawell, Main Lead (near Beaufort), Diamond Creek and Costerfield in Victoria. His last residence was at Bosterfield, where the Wagga was used as a bed quilt until the 1940s. Not just a maker of wagga quilts and an engineer, Mr Stephens was also a hero – in 1910 he saved the life of a blacksmith at Diamond Creek Gold Mine.

Registration:
NWM - 7350
Date:
C1890
Dimensions:
1500 x 1100
National Wool Museum

Jacket

The wool for this jacket originates from two sheep many kilometres apart. The first fleece was shorn in Moree, NSW; the second in Beaufort, Victoria. The two fleeces were spun and woven by the donor’s mother, Marjorie Allnutt. The donor Philip Allnutt had a suit tailored out of this fabric at Ravensdale J & Son, 37 Swanson Street, Melbourne. They were members of the Master Tailors Federation of Victoria at the time.

Registration:
NWM-8252
Date:
1978
Dimensions:
750 x 550 x 50
Outdoor Collection

Concrete Trough for Animals

George and Annis Bills were philanthropists with a love of animals. They established a trust for the protection and alleviation of suffering to animals which furnished over 500 public horse troughs between 1924 and 1945 — three which remain within the Greater Geelong area.

Most troughs were installed in Australia; over 300 remain. Troughs were also installed in England, Ireland, North America, South Africa, Japan and Switzerland. Each trough cost £13 (just over $1000 today) to fabricate and install in the 1930s. From the 1880s to 1900s, George and his brother Henry ran successful businesses importing and selling birds, and manufacturing mattresses and sofas. George and Annis were keen supporters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; George later becoming a Life Governor of the RSPCA. Annis and George built the first troughs in 1908.  Annis died soon after, and George set up a trust to: construct and erect and pay for horse troughs wherever they may be . . . desirable for the relief of horses and other dumb animals either in Australasia, in the British Islands or in any other part of the world’.

To honour his wife and country, each trough was to be labelled ‘Annis and George Bills Australia’.  Following George’s death in 1927, the trust was administered by his sister Daisy Cook. Initially the troughs were individually designed and constructed.  Then in the early 1930s Jack Phillips, a relative of the Bills, produced 250 precast concrete troughs to a standard design at his Hawthorn factory. Rocla pipes took over production in the late 1930s, which discontinued around 1945. The Bills’ Trust shifted its focus, helping to finance the RSPCA Tally Ho Animal Rest Home and the George Bills RSPCA Rescue Centre during the 1960s.

Registration:
GOC 15
Date:
Around 1925
Location:
Mcclelland Ave, Lara
National Wool Museum

Geelong Football Club Jumper

This was the jumper of John Brown, who played 48 games for Geelong including the 1963 Grand Final in which he wore this jumper. Formed in 1859, the Geelong Football Club is the second oldest in the Australian Football League and one of the oldest clubs globally.

Registration:
NWM-5331
Date:
1963
National Wool Museum

Child's Wagga Quilt

This homemade wagga was purchased from the Old Bank Auctions, Geelong on 2 December 2000 for $20.00. The regular size of the patchwork and the varying colours show that the fabric was most likely sourced from a disused men’s suit fabric sample book.

Registration:
NWM - 4053
Date:
c1930
Dimensions:
1070 x1560
National Wool Museum

Patchwork Quilt

This turn-of-the-century English quilt is made from tiny hand-worked patchwork squares reminiscent of medallion style quilts. It is an extraordinary example of early quilts that arrived in Australia with immigrants. The maker is unknown. When it was found it was being used as packing material. The form and the aesthetic of this classic European quilt demonstrates the stark contrast with Australian wagga quilts. Through the difficult times of the 1890s and 1930s the wagga became a uniquely Australian form.

Registration:
NWM - 1683
Date:
c1900
Dimensions:
1520 x 1520
Geelong Maritime Museum

British submarine periscope tip

Geelong has a special relationship with submarines. Osborne House in North Geelong was the home of Australia’s first submarine fleet. From 1919-1922, it housed the 6 J Class Submarines gifted to the Australian Government by the Royal Navy. Several hulks of these submarine still survive in Port Phillip Bay. After being decommissioned due to their cost and the economic struggles of the time, four of the boats were scuttled off Barwon Heads. The two other boats were sunk and utilised as breakwaters.

Registration:
GNMM
Date:
c1915
Dimensions:
300 H x 150 D x 150 W mm
National Wool Museum

Domestic Wagga

Little is known about the provenance of this wagga, but the vibrant colours, odd shapes and extraordinary composition conjure stories of its maker and its use.

Registration:
NWM - 6595
Date:
c1950
Dimensions:
900 x 1540
National Wool Museum

Wagga Lily Rolled Flour Bag

This ten-kilogram flour bag came from the Murrumbidgee Milling Company Limited, Wagga Wagga, NSW. The name ‘wagga quilt’ takes its name from the flour mills that operated in and around the NSW town. As you will see throughout the exhibition, bags like this one were used as the interior layer of early wagga quilts.

Registration:
NWM - 5991
Date:
c1930
Dimensions:
333 x 446
National Wool Museum

Undervest

This wool undervest was purchased by Edith Bender for her husband Edwin. Edwin would catch a ‘Red Rattler’ train along the North Shore line to go to work in Pitt Street, Sydney. Edith was concerned Edwin would catch a cold in the unheated train or in his unheated office, so she brought these woollen undervests for him to wear to work. Edwin would wear the undervests under a woollen suit and with a woollen overcoat. Edwin passed away in 1963, at which point Edith stored the undervests away, unable to part with them.

Registration:
NWM-8103
Date:
c.1960
Dimensions:
810 L x 885 W x 3 D mm
National Wool Museum

Olympic Uniform Collection

Wool holds a predominant role in our Olympic uniform history. Finest quality Australian wool has frequently been used to outfit our Olympic team. The 1992 Summer Olympics were held in Barcelona. Australia sent 279 competitors kitted out in uniforms designed by Wendy Powitt, who won the AWC’s Olympic Uniform Design Competition in 1990. Her designs highlighted the classic Australian colours of the bush with soft olive greens and creams and a bold floral design that reflected the styles of artists from the Australian Arts and Crafts Movement (1890-1914).

Geelong Heritage Centre

Town Clerk Chest

Painted black enamel metal chest, thought to be the original lock box used by William Weire, the first Town Clerk of Geelong. It was used to store important documents such as early leases and agreements.

Registration:
GHC
Date:
c1850
Public Art, Monuments & Memorials

I AM

The City of Greater Geelong has commissioned artist, Mark Cuthbertson to create this public sculpture celebrating members of our community who have a lived experience with disability. Drawing reference from powerful political and pop culture statements such as the 1968 Memphis black sanitation workers slogan “I AM a man”, and Helen Reddy’s 1971 anthem “I AM woman”, the work celebrates the empowerment of diversity in our society. Over 85 community members contributed to the artwork development in a series of workshops facilitated by the artist to inform the final design.

Registration:
GOC 309
Date:
2021
National Wool Museum

Lucy Anderson's Rug

These are samples of products made at the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Mill in Geelong but discontinued before 1960. They were used to show shops what materials were available. The samples were given to Mr Robert Anderson, an apprentice fitter and turner at the mill between 1960-1965. His mother, Mrs Lucy Anderson, sewed the samples into rugs in the early 1960s. Lucy’s rug shows that by 1960 the spirit of the wagga quilt and making do continued in the vernacular of Australian quilters.

Registration:
NWM - 7217
Date:
1960
Dimensions:
1652 x 1000
Geelong Gaol

Teddy Bear

The Geelong Gaol was proclaimed as a Training Prison from the 1950s and in this role was used to educate prisoners in various trades including printing, sign writing, painting, tailoring, brick laying and toy making. The Stuffed Koala toy was made by a prisoner and given as a gift to Calypso Rockers who performed for the inmates in 1957.

Registration:
GGC 55
Date:
1957
Dimensions:
320 h x 250 w x 200 d
Council Art & Artefact

Stained Glass Window

This stained glass was originally installed at Geelong Town Hall following its expansion in 1917. The Geelong Council involved the staff and former students of the Gordon Technical College in designing the artwork and aesthetic of the building. Arthur S. Pittock, former student and local glazier, was responsible for the design and construction of the large stained glass window in the stair hall. The window was described as “a special feature” in the new building with the leaded glass work using “the motif throughout in Greek form, of admirable colour”. The window showcases the City of Geelong’s original coat of arms, featuring images of Geelong’s early industries: sailing, wool, wine and wheat production, and a kangaroo as an inescutcheon.

During the redevelopment of City Hall in the late 1960s the stained glass window was removed from the building and placed in the basement carpark. The National Wool Museum has taken responsibility of the window and removed it from the carpark to be conserved and housed safely.

The surviving City Hall window is the most elaborate, known surviving stained glass window by Pittock.

Watch the full story of the Stained Glass Window at https://vimeo.com/466047641

Registration:
CAC459
Date:
c1917
Dimensions:
4400H x 2000W