Working Life & Trades Collection

Planes - Jack, Trying, Grooving, Tongueing and Moulding, Yarra Punt Builder

Image: Planes - Jack, Trying, Grooving, Tongueing and Moulding, Yarra Punt Builder

Source: Museum Victoria

This collection aims to document and preserve the history of Victorian workers, and to record their impact on and contribution to Australian society.

Focussing on the post-European settlement period to the present, it aims to reflect the experiences and actions of individuals and groups of workers in different historical, personal, social, economic and cultural settings. It also aims to document the personal and unique renderings of workers' experiences and actions.

Much of the collection documents 'case studies' of working life in Victoria and Australia. These offer insight into a particular type of workplace and work, with some emphasis on workers' voices, while the wider collection represents a variety of working-life skills, experiences and cultures.

The strengths of the collection lie in its coverage of early to mid-20th century factory work, small businesses and trades and the trade union movement. It focuses on work practices in more formal work environments such as factories, commercial workshops and the traditional apprentice-based trades, but is complemented by other collections of less formal workplace objects, such as the home work and handicrafts area in the Domestic and Community Life Collection.

Trades relating to metalworking and precision engineering, especially those requiring the extensive use of machine tools and power tools, are covered under the Engineering Collection rather than in Trades.

Significant items

  • Barfoot Bootmaking Collection: 211 items from a former surgical bootmaker's business.
  • Bruhn Collection: 985 items from a father and son woodturning shop operated in Carlton and later South Melbourne, 1920s-1980s.
  • Grenoble Gloves Collection: 454 items from a Melbourne glove factory started in 1944.
  • McInnes Delicatessen and Butcher's Shop: 106 items from the East Malvern shop, which operated from 1933 to the 1970s.
  • Newmarket Saleyards Collection: 27 items from former livestock saleyards.
  • Pigment Manufacturers of Australia (PMA): 135 items from a major paint manufacturing plant at Laverton, 1960s-1990s.
  • Sam Brown Bootmaker's Collection: 297 items from a former bootmaker's shop in Albert Park, c. 1930s-1980s.
  • Simpson's Gloves Collection: 1491 items from the former Simpson's Glove Factory which operated in Victoria Street, Richmond, from 1924 until 1988.
  • Victorian Institute for the Blind Collection: 107 items from former RVIB workshops.
  • Artworks, including Ambrose Dyson, David Armfield and Aileen Brown, 1950s-1980s.
  • 'Stick Together' radio program oral history collection, 1970s-1980s.
  • Contemporary occupational health and safety material, 1990s.
  • Stonemason's tools and early bootmaking machinery.

See The Working Life Collection, and an essay on this collection from A Museum for the People: A history of Museum Victoria and its predecessor institutions 1854-2000.

Items per page: 10 50 (showing 1 - 50) 2750 items

  • Miner's Cradle - Wood & Metal, Ballarat, circa 1880s Object

    Miner's Cradle - Wood & Metal, Ballarat, circa 1880s

    Wooden miner's cradle with metal sieve used to separate gold or other heavy minerals from soil and water, dating to before 1900. Washdirt and water were tipped into the sieve at the to ...

    Images: 2
  • Pillbox Hat - Satin with Pearls, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Pillbox Hat - Satin with Pearls, circa 1939-1989

    Small satin-covered cream pillbox hat. Thought to have been made by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. ...

    Images: 2
  • Hat Block - Metal, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Metal, circa 1939-1989

    Cast metal hat block. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She was apprenticed as ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She was apprenticed as a m ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block with remnant fabric. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She wa ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block with remnant fabric. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She wa ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She was apprenticed as a m ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She was apprenticed as a m ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block with remnant fabric. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She wa ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She was apprenticed as a m ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She was apprenticed as a m ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block with remnant fabric. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She wa ...

    Images: 1
  • Artificial Flowers - Pearlescent Sprays, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Artificial Flowers - Pearlescent Sprays, circa 1939-1989

    Six sprays of pearlescent artificial flowers. Made or acquired for use by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around ...

    Images: 4
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block with remnant fabric. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She wa ...

    Images: 1
  • Artificial Flowers - Wattle Spray, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Artificial Flowers - Wattle Spray, circa 1939-1989

    Artificial spray of wattle flowers. Made or acquired for use by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She ...

    Images: 1
  • Artificial Flowers - Large Wax Spray, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Artificial Flowers - Large Wax Spray, circa 1939-1989

    Large spray of cream-coloured wax flowers. Made or acquired for use by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 19 ...

    Images: 2
  • Headdress - Wax Flowers, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Headdress - Wax Flowers, circa 1939-1989

    Small round headdress with floral decoration. Thought to have been made by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from aroun ...

    Images: 3
  • Headdress - Sequinned, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Headdress - Sequinned, circa 1939-1989

    Small headdress with net and sequin 'petals', which would have been used to keep a veil in place. Made in Belgium and acquired for use by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born ...

    Images: 5
  • Headdress - Edith M. Barnett, Satin & Pearl, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Headdress - Edith M. Barnett, Satin & Pearl, circa 1939-1989

    Satin-covered round headdress, in cream, with a bunch of "flowers" made of pearls, possibly for bridal veil. Believed to have been made by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born ...

    Images: 5
  • Headdress - Edith M. Barnett, Pearl & Beads, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Headdress - Edith M. Barnett, Pearl & Beads, circa 1939-1989

    Small tiara-like headdress with pearl decoration. Believed to have been made by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from ...

    Images: 2
  • Artificial Fruit - Lemon Spray, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Artificial Fruit - Lemon Spray, circa 1939-1989

    Small bunch of artificial lemons, for decorating a hat, made in France. Acquired for use in millinery by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwe ...

    Images: 2
  • Headdress - Edith M. Barnett, Diamente & Beads, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Headdress - Edith M. Barnett, Diamente & Beads, circa 1939-1989

    Small round headdress with butterfly-like motif, perhaps for holding a wedding veil in place. Presumed to have been made by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and li ...

    Images: 3
  • Tulle Pieces - Cream, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Tulle Pieces - Cream, circa 1939-1989

    Pieces of tulle used for hat-making. Acquired for use by Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She was ap ...

    Images: 1
  • Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989 Object

    Hat Block - Wood, circa 1939-1989

    Wooden hat block with remnant fabric. Acquired from milliner Miss Edith M. Barnett. Miss Barnett was born in 1905 and lived at 558 Camberwell Road, Camberwell from around 1939. She wa ...

    Images: 5
  • Chocolate Mould - Octagonal Shape, Red Tulip, Melbourne, circa 1910-1950. Object

    Chocolate Mould - Octagonal Shape, Red Tulip, Melbourne, circa 1910-1950.

    Metal chocolate mould used by the Red Tulip confectionary company to make chocolates at their factory in Melbourne in the early to mid twentieth century. This mould is one of two that ...

    Images: 2
  • Chocolate Mould - Oval Shape, Red Tulip, Melbourne, circa 1910-1950 Object

    Chocolate Mould - Oval Shape, Red Tulip, Melbourne, circa 1910-1950

    Metal chocolate mould used by the Red Tulip confectionary company to make chocolates at their factory in Melbourne in the early to mid twentieth century. This mould is one of two that ...

    Images: 2
  • Rods - Park Avenue Wrought Iron, 1980-1990 Object

    Rods - Park Avenue Wrought Iron, 1980-1990

    Set of four metal rods manufactured by Park Avenue Wrought Iron, circa 1980-1990. They were used at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind by visually impaired workers on the rod l ...

    Images: 1
  • Shears - Sunbeam, 'Stewart Shearmaster', Electric, circa 1986 Object

    Shears - Sunbeam, 'Stewart Shearmaster', Electric, circa 1986

    Set of Stewart Shearmaster electric shears manufactured by Sunbeam, circa 1986. They were used in the mat making workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind from about 1986 ...

    Images: 1
  • Stencil - Made by the Blind, circa 1985 Object

    Stencil - Made by the Blind, circa 1985

    Stencil with the wording 'Made by the Blind' manufactured circa 1985. It was was used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Bli ...

    Images: 1
  • Stencils - Numbers, circa 1985 Object

    Stencils - Numbers, circa 1985

    Set of seven metal stencils with the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9 they were used at the matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, circa 1985-1992. They were used ...

    Images: 1
  • Mat - RVIB Factory Workers, circa 1966 Object

    Mat - RVIB Factory Workers, circa 1966

    Mat with image of a lighthouse made by Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind Factory workers, circa 1966. The mat was made by visually impaired workers at the R.V.I.B. matmaking works ...

    Images: 1
  • Sharpening Machine - Thorvald Clasen, circa 1950s-1970s Object

    Sharpening Machine - Thorvald Clasen, circa 1950s-1970s

    Sharpening Machine manufactured by Thorvald Clasen, circa 1950s-1970s. This sharpening machine is an attachment to the Thorvald Clasen trimming machine used in the matmaking workshop Ro ...

    Images: 1
  • Trimming Machine - Thorvald Clasen, circa 1950s-1970s Object

    Trimming Machine - Thorvald Clasen, circa 1950s-1970s

    Alternative Name(s): Shearing Machine; Schermaschine Nr51 Trimming machine made by Thorvald Clasen, circa 1950s-1970s. This machine was used by visually impaired workers to trim pile o ...

    Images: 1
  • Trimming Machine - England, circa 1900-1972 Object

    Trimming Machine - England, circa 1900-1972

    Trimming Machine manufactured in England some time between 1900 and 1972. It was used by visually impaired workers to trim pile on mats in matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Inst ...

    Images: 1
  • Tallow Bag - Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, circa 1970s-1980s Object

    Tallow Bag - Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, circa 1970s-1980s

    Tallow Bag made by R.V.I.B. Factory workers, circa 1970s-1980s. It was used by visually impaired workers in the RVBI factory to lubricate the needle, warp strings and matting fibres to ...

    Images: 2
  • Rope Plaiting Machine - Thomas Barraclough & Co, circa 1900s-1930s Object

    Rope Plaiting Machine - Thomas Barraclough & Co, circa 1900s-1930s

    Rope Plaiting Machine manufactured by Thomas Barraclough & Co. Limited. New electric fittings have been added to the machine after its construction. It was used by R.V.I.B. workers at ...

    Images: 3
  • Hand Shears - Metal, circa 1960s-1980s Object

    Hand Shears - Metal, circa 1960s-1980s

    Metal Hand Shears, circa 1960s-1980s. Used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind to trim the top of mat pile. The hand sh ...

    Images: 3
  • Shuttle - Matmaking, circa 1950s-1970s Object

    Shuttle - Matmaking, circa 1950s-1970s

    Wooden Shuttle used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind factory, circa 1950s-1980s. It was used on the weaving frame to ...

    Images: 3
  • Needle Puller - J. Dixon, circa 1930-1935 Object

    Needle Puller - J. Dixon, circa 1930-1935

    Metal Needle Puller manufactured by J. Dixon, circa 1930-1935. It was used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind to pull ...

    Images: 2
  • Needle Puller - Handmade, circa 1980s Object

    Needle Puller - Handmade, circa 1980s

    Needle Puller made by R.V.I.B. Factory workers, probably Tom Jennings or Fred Kilpatrick, circa 1980s. It was used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop to pull needles ...

    Images: 2
  • Plug Puller - Handmade, circa 1985 Object

    Plug Puller - Handmade, circa 1985

    Peg puller made by R.V.I.B. Factory workers, possibly by Fred Kilpatrick, circa 1985. The plug puller was used by visually impaired workers to repair mats in the matmaking workshop at t ...

    Images: 1
  • Loom - Rod, circa 1900-1930 Object

    Loom - Rod, circa 1900-1930

    Rod Loom manufactured circa 1900-1930. This loom was used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind to make floor mats. This ...

    Images: 4
  • Tool Box - Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, circa 1970s-1980s Object

    Tool Box - Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, circa 1970s-1980s

    Tool Box manufactured in the Carpentry Workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, circa 1970s-1980s. It was originally used by workers at factory to store some of the matm ...

    Images: 1
  • Block - Mat Measuring, circa 1972 Object

    Block - Mat Measuring, circa 1972

    Mat measuring block made by R.V.I.B. workers, circa 1972. It was used by visually impaired workers in the Matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind to gauge the ...

    Images: 1
  • Block - Mat Measuring, circa 1972 Object

    Block - Mat Measuring, circa 1972

    Mat measuring block made by R.V.I.B. workers, circa 1972. It was used by visually impaired workers in the Matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind to gauge the ...

    Images: 1
  • Block - Mat Measuring, circa 1972 Object

    Block - Mat Measuring, circa 1972

    Mat measuring block made by R.V.I.B. workers, circa 1972. It was used by visually impaired workers in the Matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind to gauge the ...

    Images: 1
  • Knife - Matmaking, circa 1986 Object

    Knife - Matmaking, circa 1986

    Matmaking knife probably made by former RVIB worker Fred Kilpatrick, circa 1986. The knife was used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop of the Royal Victorian Institu ...

    Images: 1
  • Sewing Palm - Sailmakers, circa 1985 Object

    Sewing Palm - Sailmakers, circa 1985

    Sailmakers Sewing Palm made circa 1985-1986. The palm was used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop at the Royal Victorian for the Blind Institute during the binding o ...

    Images: 1
  • Hole Punch - Maun Industries, Leather, circa 1980s Object

    Hole Punch - Maun Industries, Leather, circa 1980s

    Leather hole punch manufactured by Maun Industries, England circa 1980s. It was used to punch holes in the back of the palms in order to lace them up.

    Images: 1
  • Mallet - Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, Wooden, circa 1970s-1980s Object

    Mallet - Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, Wooden, circa 1970s-1980s

    Wooden mallet made by the R.V.I.B. Carpentry Workshop, circa 1970s-1980s. It was used by visually impaired workers in the matmaking workshop to tap mats into shape.

    Images: 2
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