Stratford Historical Society and Museum

News from the Stratford Historical Society and Museum, in Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria. We are open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm, and the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Our postal address is P.O. Box 145, Stratford, 3862.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Snakebone Necklace

Currently on Display at the Museum is ......

A Snake Bone Necklace, origin unknown. It is part of the "Personal Choices" Exhibition.


This a circular necklace made of snake bones and red beads, threaded onto copper wire. It contains twenty bones, each with a red bead between it and the next, with five red beads near a rough hook catch. The bones appear painted, possibly with calcomine.

Chosen by: Ros Benson
Member of the Stratford Historical Society.

Why? Necklaces are something I like, and I don’t mind snakes.

Makers of Snakebone Necklaces

Two local women who made these necklaces were:

Minnie Blucher (nee Wanke) (c.1891-1976) who lived at Briagolong in the 1940s. Highly artistic, she eagerly sought out snakes, killing many around Noble’s Bridge. Peter Mills of Briagolong remembers that she would hang them on fences for maggots to eat away the fresh, and painted and dyed the bones. She also used spine bones from cattle for ornaments.

Bella Buttsworth (1882-1951) was the daughter of Thomas and Rachel Mills of Briagolong, and the aunt of Ina Worseldine of Maffra.

Ina remembers her making these necklaces in the 1920s, and that she placed beads in between the bones. The comment was also made that she often put large bones at the front and smaller ones to the back.

Bella obtained the bones by boiling the dead snakes down, and then left the bones out on logs in the sun to bleach.

More on PODs

If you would like to read more about the PODs (Places of Deposit), there is more HERE on the Public Record Office page. There is a link there that lists them throughout Victoria.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

We are a POD

One of the exciting things about being open again, with the wonderfully revamped back room, is that we can make our POD records more accessible.


What is a POD? It means that we are a Place of Deposit for the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV), and that they have placed with us a number of records that they no longer wish to hold. In our case we are very fortunate that many years ago the Shire of Avon sent all their old records to the PRO - we now have some of them back. We do not have the Rate Books (they are still in Melbourne, although the early ones have been microfiched), but we do have some other interesting early ones.

For example, we have:

Shire of Avon Herd Book, April 1868 -1872. Contains records for the Bundalaguah Common.

Shire of Avon Commons Cash Book 1871 - 1884. Includes Maffra Town Common, Bundalaguah Farmers Common and Briagolong Common.

Shire of Avon Business Minutes - April 1869 - September 1873

There are lots of Cash Books from the 1800s, and Road Gang Records from the 1930s and 1940s, and Pan Fees Receipts - when you paid the council for the nightman to pick up your "pan" from the outdoor dunny.

Access to the books is by appointment only, usually on Tuesdays, and we hope that once they are all catalogued there will be a more detailed guide to them available. The new computer was installed yesterday (Thanks ESSO!) so hopefully some more guides will not be far away.

We do not allow photocopying of the books due to their fragility, but we do encourage you to bring a camera to record anything in them you wish.

But in the meantime - it is good to have them, and we thank the PRO for the program that brings them out into the community.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Our pages at CAN

Keep an eye on the Collections Australia Network (CAN), as our site there is about to be updated.

And you can check out a few other museums at the same time.