MV Blog



by Kate C
Publish date
9 March 2014
Comments (1)

Harry Telford bought Phar Lap at auction for 160 guineas, back when Big Red was known only as "Good Walker, Great Shoulder, Very Strong Made Colt".

horse auction catalogue The page from the Annual New Zealand Thoroughbred Yearling Sales on 24 Jan 1928, with hand-written notes about Harry Telford's purchase. (HT 8465)
Source: Museum Victoria

There were 160 tradesmen working in the Engineering Workshops of the Kodak factory complex in Coburg.

Photo of Kodak workshop Men operating machinery in the Kodak Engineering Workshop, Coburg, circa 1963. (MM 95964)
Source: Museum Victoria

Harry Johns drove his famous boxing troupe around in a bright red, customised International AR 160 Series truck.

Harry Johns' boxing truck Harry Johns' boxing troupe truck. (SH 961969)
Source: Museum Victoria

This centuries-old English penny in our Numismatics Collection was given the registration number NU 160.

Edward 1 penny Penny, Edward I, England, 1280-1281 (NU 160)
Source: Museum Victoria

And today, Museum Victoria is 160 years old! On 9 March 1854, the Assay Office in La Trobe Street opened to the public. Surveyor-General Andrew Clarke arranged for two rooms on the first floor of the Assay Office to be aside for the new Museum of Natural History and its collections.

This letter from the Public Records Office of Victoria records the formal permission granted the newborn museum by Assay Master Dr Edward Davy. (We assume Clarke had taken the liberty of moving a few specimens in before the official word arrived.)

Letter from Assay Master Dr Edward Davy Copy of letter to Surveyor-General Andrew Clark from Assay Master Dr Edward Davy, 1854.
Source: PROV

Government Assay Office
Melbourne 28th Apr 1854
In reply to your letter of 22nd inst enquiring what accommodation can be given at the Assay Office for receiving Specimens which may, from time to time, be forwarded to the intended Museum of Natural History, I have the honor to state that there are at present, two rooms on the first floor of the building disposable for the purpose referred to.
I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most Obdt Servant,
E. Davy
Assay Master


Now we just need to figure out how to fit 160 candles on a birthday cake... I think we're going to need two cakes.

Boy with two cakes Boy with two cakes on his third birthday, Prahran, 1942. (MM 110629)
Source: Museum Victoria

Storytelling at its best

by Jackie Gatt
Publish date
21 February 2011
Comments (2)

Jackie is a volunteer at Museum Victoria. She has been documenting and researching the Newmarket Saleyards Collection.

On Saturday Liza Dale-Hallett and I were lucky enough to head along to the 150th Newmarket Saleyards Reunion. It was a fabulous day under the shady peppercorns and oaks, with a turnout of over 250 drovers, buyers, transporters and auctioneers returning to share stories and catch up with old mates. Chequered shirts, moleskins and akubras set the dress standard for the day while a cold beer in hand was a necessary addition to any reminiscing.

Crowd at 150th anniversary Crowd at the 150th anniversary Newmarket Saleyards Reunion on 19 February.
Source: Museum Victoria

Although these days some of the ‘boys’ don’t get around that quickly, it was all too easy to imagine them striding around the saleyards, calling out to each other over the fences and down the lanes. They happily recounted anecdotes about their days at Newmarket – some were bold and some were bawdy, many were full of intrigue and most of them gave an insight into the tough life lived by drovers. Some chestnuts were enlightening, explaining things a city-girl would never otherwise know, while some memories were more sombre, recollecting mates that had passed on. I was regaled with yarns from Barney, Knocker and Marbuk; Bluey, Paddy, Waxy and young Strop. And while Jingles had me captivated with stories of getting up to no good, Dick warmed my heart with entertaining tales of his beloved dogs. Brothers Laurie and Lindsay were the gentlemen drovers, eloquent orators and fine historians; and larrikin Spot proudly showed off his new grandson. Men came from as far away as Queensland while others live just up the road and didn’t have so far to get home.

Three attendees at the 15oth Newmarket Saleyards Reunion L-R: Greg Nichols, Peter Woodhead and Graham Spargo.
Source: Museum Victoria

Volunteer Jackie with Dick Chandler at the reunion. Volunteer Jackie with Dick Chandler at the reunion.
Source: Museum Victoria

It was a day of storytelling and reminiscing at its very best and although there wasn’t a sheep dog in sight, it was easy to imagine Newmarket in its glory days as Australia’s premier saleyards.

Some exciting donations were made to Museum Victoria and we look forward to adding them to our Newmarket Heritage Collection.


Newmarket Saleyards Collection

MV Blog: Newmarket Saleyards turn 150

About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.