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)
National Wool Museum

Tailor’s Wagga

The maker of this wagga is unknown. However, since the creator has used larger than usual pieces of suiting material, they may have worked as or knew of a tailor for their fabrics. 

Registration:
NWM - 1646
Date:
c1950
Dimensions:
1800x1100
National Wool Museum

Child’s Coverlet

This child’s coverlet was made from old blankets and clothing pieces with curtain and blanket backing. Maker unknown, from the Ballarat area.

Registration:
NWM - 1675
Date:
c1930
Dimensions:
1100 x 1500
National Wool Museum

Patchwork suiting wagga

This patchwork quilt is made from suiting and fabric offcuts. It is machine stitched with red diamond and rectangle motifs at strategic positions. Little is known about the maker or owner of the quilt but the red triangles and squares show a flourish of creativity for the humble wagga quilt.

Registration:
NWM - 1687
Date:
1930
Dimensions:
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 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
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
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

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

Green Wheat Bag Wagga and Wheat Bag Wagga, 1945

These waggas were made and owned by Percy Perkins. He was a keen fisherman and hunter his first love was sitting on the banks of the Murray River with a fishing rod in his hand. Family camping trips were spent by the river where everyone slept on stretchers with several army blankets underneath and a wheat bag wagga on top. Perkins joined the police force in his early twenties and apart from an eighteen-month posting in Melbourne, spent the rest of his career serving communities in country Victoria. A good wagga accompanied Percy on all his fishing and hunting journeys. The green colour of the wagga is from ‘Dekkol’, a preservative which Perkins used to protect his cotton fishing nets from rotting. The second wagga is made from two standard sized jute wheat bags split and hand bound along the seams. It is typical of a basic wagga made by shearers, farmers and swagmen. The paint stains on this wagga display signs of later use as a painting drop sheet by descendants who inherited the quilt.

Registration:
NWM -1680 and NWM -1662
Date:
1945
Dimensions:
1130 x 1910 and 1870 x 1130
National Wool Museum

Child’s Cot Quilt

One of the earliest examples of a wagga quilt that exists in Australia. This quilt was made from reused patches and fabric scraps that were stitched together to create a warm covering for a child to sleep under. The quilt was made in Daylesford, but little is known about the maker or users of this quilt. As early as the depression of the 1890s, when times were difficult in Australia, making do became a way of life. The wagga quilt entered the list of uniquely Australian inventions that helped us survive through lean times.

Registration:
NWM - 1677
Date:
c1890
Dimensions:
800x1200
National Wool Museum

Dress

This dress was made for the Melbourne Show in 1993 where it won 3rd prize. It was designed by Jean Inglis who was inspired by the Blue Triangle Butterfly (Scientific name: Graphium sarpedon choredon) for her design. The warp and weft for this dress was 2/24 commercially brought black wool. Jean utilised a new weaving technique devised by Theo Morgan in creating the dress. This method used a “tie down” thread of black polyester in the Warp in order to give it more texture. The dress was handwoven by Jean on her personal loom. Ruth Rondell assisted Jean with some of the pattern and final sewing.

Registration:
NWM-8094
Date:
c1933
Dimensions:
1200 L x 750 W x 10 D
Geelong Gaol

Tricycle

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. This tricycle was made by a prisoner in the 1950s.

Registration:
GGC 79
Date:
c1950
Dimensions:
460 h x 500 w
National Wool Museum

Medallion

This medallion was struck to celebrate the 100th anniversary of fellmongering in Mazamet in 1951. Fellmongering – In French, ‘delainage” means, literally, ‘de-wooling’. It is the industrial process of separating wool from sheepskins. In the 19th century, the southern French town of Mazamet became the world centre of délainage and played an important part in the Australian wool industry. At one time Mazamet was reputed to be the 15th richest town in Europe, and it was said that the town’s branch of the Banque Nationale de Paris (French banking firm) was the second largest in France. At its height, Mazamet had 48 fellmongeries and imported more than 100,000 tonnes of sheepskins a year from the southern hemisphere, mostly from Australia and Argentina. The town continues to have a strong relation to Australia, with street names such as, Rue de Australie, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Registration:
NWM-8105
Date:
c1951
Dimensions:
63 Circumference x 4 D mm
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

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
Council Art & Artefact

Cleaning Cart

This street sweeping cart was used on Pakington Street before the amalgamations of six local councils to form the City of Greater Geelong. The cart is from around 1960 when the City of Geelong West had approximately 17,500 people within its borough. The cart was wheeled up and down the popular street; cleaning litter and providing a clean and pleasant street for locals and shop owners alike.

Date:
c1960
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
National Wool Museum

Child’s Cot Cover Insert

This wagga was made by Jean Hepner’s grandmother from used woollen garments during the Great Depression. The garments were hand stitched on to an old woollen blanket. The quilt was used by at least five of the seven children in the family. It had assorted covers that were replaced when needed. In later years, it was also used by Hepner’s grandchildren.

Registration:
NWM - 101
Date:
1929
Dimensions:
790 x 1050
Council Art & Artefact

Parking Signs

These parking street signs from the 1960s are very diffrent to their modern-day counterparts. They spell out their entire messages whereas modern equivalents use only a few letters and numbers to display the same message. Made from yellow and black painted steel, these signs are heavy but easy to read.

Date:
c1960
Dimensions:
1200 H x 450 W x 450 D mm
National Wool Museum

Fulling Machine

There is an extensive list of finishing processes in wool production for both worsted and woollen fabrics. Fulling is the immersion and pounding of fabric to make the fibres interlock. Crabbing permanently sets this interlock. Decanting shrink-proofs the fabric. Dyeing changes the fabrics colour. This large Fulling Machine is a distinctive item related to this phase of cloth production. Made by J. Dyson and Sons in Geelong, this Fulling Machine completes all the above steps, except dyeing, with a combination of hot water, soap and friction. Before the invention of such a machine, all these processes had to be completed individually.

Registration:
NWM-1273
Date:
c1950
Dimensions:
2600 x 1300 x 2200
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
National Wool Museum

World War Two Wagga

This wagga was made during World War Two from disused patterned rayon patches. The wagga is filled with jute bags. The maker of the quilt is unknown. The quilt shows the persistence of wagga quilt making right through to the 1940s.

Registration:
NWM - 1665
Date:
c1945
Dimensions:
1930 x 950
National Wool Museum

Harry Walter Wilton’s Quilt

This quilt was made by Harry Walter Hewitt Wilton (1872-1950). Harry joined the Essex Regiment and served in the British Military in India and also served in the Second Boer War. He married the seamstress Mary Elizabeth in India in 1895. Harry was injured during battle and made this quilt as part of his rehabilitation. The quilt was made using woollen army singlets. Harry and Mary moved to a farm near Orbost, Victoria, in 1914. The quilt remained in the family until 2019.

Registration:
NWM-7826
Date:
c1899
Dimensions:
2100x1720
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