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

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

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

AWU Shearers Ticket

The 1891 Shearers’ Strike was one of the most significant events in the development of the Australian Labor Movement. Barcaldine in Central Queensland was the location for much of this conflict. Graziers were attempting to negotiate agreements on individual stations that went against union rules including a reduction in shearers’ wages. Queensland pastoralists engaged Victorian “free labourers” or “scabs” to keep their sheds running while local shearers were on strike. The conflict required armed police to guard Victorian shearers as riots toke place and woolsheds burnt down. With both sides bearing arms, there were thoughts of a possible “Australian Revolution”. The conflict ended in June 1891 with rebel shearers regaining work, however, several of the strike’s leaders were sentenced to prison

Registration:
NWM - 2820
Date:
1901
Dimensions:
128 x 78 x 1
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

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 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

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
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

Red Cross Crazy Quilt

This is a classic crazy quilt. Although not technically a wagga, crazy quilts took many of the ‘make do’ techniques of wagga quilt making. This quilt was made in Highton, Geelong. It is a double bed sized quilt in the classic ‘crazy’ style with extensive use of herringbone and feather stitching. The pieced style of the quilt, made from squares of patchwork, is similar to the style of quilts made by members of the Country Women’s Association (CWA). The women sometimes made a quilt as a group activity and this one was possibly a 1930s group creation.

Registration:
NWM - 3157
Date:
1930
Dimensions:
1500 x 2500
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
Geelong Maritime Museum

British Torpedo Gyroscope

This is a 1931 British Torpedo Gyroscope made of brass and steel. Most likely from the Royal Gun Factory in Woolwich, it supplied gyroscope to the Royal Navy through World Wars One and Two. The Gyroscope works to keep a fired torpedo aimed straight and towards its target. It has an additional wooden case for transportation that also contains instructions. The case is made from wood, foam, paper and ink. The box includes notched carvings for the gyroscope to sit in for the protection of the delicate instrument in transportation. The box is also designed to have a wall removed for the retrieval of the gyroscope, as shown in the accompanying images.

Date:
c1931
Dimensions:
300 H x 300 W x 250 D mm
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
Public Art, Monuments & Memorials

North

North, by Mark Stoner (2000) consists of seven cement objects resembling sails or fins that vary in size from 2.2 to 3.5 metres high. No two fins are positioned on the same plane and by moving within and around the sculpture the profiles change quite dramatically.

Registration:
GOC 41
Date:
2000
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
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
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
Geelong Maritime Museum

Navy Shield

Discovered in an antique shop in 1990, this was believed initially to be the 1943 shield of the Navy Patrol Vessel ML 817 but later found to be from the 817 Squadron of the Navy’s Air Arm. Originally a Royal Navy Squadron, the fixed armed aircraft team was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy. Their aircraft operated off HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne, which were aircraft carriers in the late stages of World War Two. Their motto AUDE FACRE means “DARE TO ACT”.

Registration:
c1947
Dimensions:
200 H x 150 W mm
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

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
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

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
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
Public Art, Monuments & Memorials

Solace

This memorial offers solace for people affected by road trauma, a space for quiet contemplation and reflection. The phases of the moon symbolise the stages of grief, the journey from loss toward acceptance and hope. A project delivered by the City of Greater Geelong, in partnership with the Transport Accident Commission and supported by Road Trauma Support Services Victoria and the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.”

Registration:
GOC 1
Date:
2020
Council Art & Artefact

Thomas Wright Clock

The Goldrush of the 1850’s attracted thousands of immigrants from Asia and Europe who came to “try their luck” and find personal fortunes. Amongst their numbers arrived several British and German silversmiths, clockmakers and watchmakers who brought with them a long tradition of metalcraft. Geelong attracted many of these craftsmen setting up trade in the centre of the township. Thomas Wright was one of leading watchmakers in Geelong who oversaw the Town Clock. Unfortunately, very few examples of his work have survived.

Registration:
CAC - 291
Date:
c1860