Smoothing Plane - John Spence, Wood & Metal, Edinburgh, circa 1890s Object Reg. No: HT 7829

Smoothing plane used by John Spence to make furniture for the Nicholls' home in Australia. John Spence migrated to Australia in 1923 with his nephew's family, William and Susannah Nicholls and their two children Margaret and John.

Susannah May Cant was born in London in the late 1800s. She trained as teacher and while teaching in Middlesex in 1906 she met William Nicholls, also a teacher. They were married in 1907 and had their first child, Margaret in 1908 and their second child John in 1911. William served duing World War I in France. They taught until Susannah resigned for health reasons. The family successfully applied for assisted migration to Australia, under the Empire Settlement Scheme and arrived in Australia on the P & O liner 'Beltana' in May 1923, accompanied unassisted by Will's uncle, John Spence. Will first taught in remote Walwa in north eastern Victoria. Keen to try farming, they purchased a ten acre block at Pearcedale on the Mornington Peninsula, and moved in November 1923. The poor soil quality made farming unsuccessful, so in April 1924 Will returned to teaching, as would Susannah. They sold the farm and moved to a rented house at Somerville. Susannah was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 1928 and died back in Pearcedale in 1929. Her family would return to England.
Wooden plane with metal blade and bolts.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms. Gillian Borrack, 2004
Discipline: History

More information

Tagged with: immigration, making do, settlement, domestic life, english immigration, brought goods, woodworking tools, education, rural victoria, rural life, teachers, farms
Themes this item is part of: Susannah Nicholls, English Migrant, 1923, Domestic & Community Life Collection, Migration Collection
Primary Classification: MIGRATION
Secondary Classification: Travel - Brought Goods
Tertiary Classification: hand tools
Inscriptions: Maker's inscription on wooden surface: J. Spence of Edinburgh
Place Made: Edinburgh, Scotland, Great Britain, circa 1890s
User: Mr John Spence, Victoria, Australia, circa 1923-1930


Ian Wells Posted on 19 Feb 2013 3:51 PM
I think that you'll find its a Jack plane not a smoothing plane

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