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Lat: 23 degrees, 42.2 minutes South
Long: 133 degrees, 52.6 minutes East
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OPENING TIMES:

February to December:
Open daily
 10.00 am to 5.00 pm- Monday to Friday

 10.00 am to 4.00 pm- Saturday & Sunday

Closed:
21st December 2013 to 3rd February 2014

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$3.00 Children
$18.00 per Family (2Adults, up to 3 children)


Network of Women's Museums
Home arrow Exhibition
Women at the Heart | First in their Field | Women's Work

Exhibition - "Women's Work"

WOMEN'S WORK IS NEVER DONE….
 
Introduction
The National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame holds a collection of domestic equipment and craftwork and other artifacts considered traditional "women's work". For example, items relating to laundering, cooking, cleaning and sewing and generally maintaining a house and family, the traditional role of women in society. There is also a developing section on traditional "women's jobs" - nurse, teacher and secretary - which can be seen as a continuation of women's nurturing role as wife and mother outside of the home.
 
Many of the items on show are perhaps familiar from our childhood, but for the younger generation they may seem curiously strange. Today, women can get through housework with a touch of a button. In the past, before the invention of many labour-saving devices, domestic work involved a lot more muscle power and time.
 
Laundering
Monday was traditionally wash day - all day. What takes a 40 minute wash cycle today, would have taken around 12 hours 100 years ago and often children (no doubt the girls) would have sometimes lost a day at school just to help with the volume of work.
 
On display we have a 1920's washing machine - you had to agitate the soapy water yourself by pumping the wooden dolly up and down by hand. And no simple spin cycle - rinsing was by manually operating the mangle at the side. There is also an original copper, several washboards, a 1950's ironing board and an interesting collection of irons, showing their development from the simple flat iron to the introduction of electricity.
 
Cooking
On display is a typical Metter's wood-burning stove as well as several old-fashioned cooking utensils, many of which seem archaic by today's standards. There are a number of items relating to food processing such as hand-operated meat mincers, a vegetable press as well as dairy and baking equipment. Most interesting are the hand-made utensils - knives, scoops, baking tins - showing the ingenuity of those living in isolated areas where equipment was not readily available. Several cookbooks are also displayed including the series published by the CWA, considered by many women as their "bible".
 
Sewing
In the early years of the 20th century, the sewing machine was often a woman's most important piece of domestic equipment, required for keeping the family clothed as well as for providing soft furnishings for the home. Again we show the ingenuity of isolated women featuring the use of old mail bags for making oven cloths and flour bags for clothes. Our collection of sewing machines shows the variety available as well as the individual, often feminine floral designs.
 
Despite the many hours involved in just keeping the house clean and the family fed and clothed, women still had time for leisure, which was often taken up with crafts that are fast disappearing. Fancywork, as opposed to plain sewing, was particularly popular in the 19th and 20th centuries in Australia. It could occupy the hands while still allowing conversation and meant the creation of a number of small items for the home. It seemed nothing could escape being made, crocheted or embroidered. We have examples of many typical items which may seem bizarre today - crocheted sauce bottle covers and all kinds of crocheted d'oyleys including the great Aussie icon, the weighted milk jug cover for keeping off the flies as well as a handmade d'oyley holder. We also have a collection of crochet hooks and knitting needles, early cotton reels and the commercially-produced patterns that inspired many women's imaginations. 



Donated by MAGNT

"Victoria" Charcoal Box Iron
Imagine the work and potential accidents involved in using this hefty object. Hot charcoal had to be placed inside the hollow cast-iron box base by way of the hinged lid. The flue in front dispelled hot steam and smoke. The wooden handle protected the hands (up to a point) from the hot metal. This design dating from c1900 was later adapted to create the first gas-heated smoothing iron. 

Donated by Bill Waudby

RFDS Medical chest
Many women in isolated situations were faced with the health care of their family using only a few medical books, basic first aid materials and traditional remedies as well as a lot of common sense to assist in emergency situations. Individual medical supplies were numbered so that the medications could be easily referred to over the radio.

Donated by Gabby Floriani

Sewing machine
An early example of an electric sewing machine; the design follows the hand-operated ones of the day. It was made in Germany by Thomas Müller of Dresden, using the Veritas trademark. The gold coloured floral design on the metal parts is particularly intricate. There is inlaid decoration on the wooden base and the machine comes with a wooden cover with the word VERITAS painted on the side inside an art nouveau style linear surround.

Donated by Hank Guth, Panorama Guth

Typewriter
Remington 12 #LD41490, a typical example of a 1920's/30's machine made by this US company. With the use of more and more women as clerical workers from the 1890's, the typewriter became central to the "woman's world" outside of the home, many becoming members of "typing pools" or shorthand-typists.

Donated by Anne Worden's niece, Marg Waters

Apron
Anne Worden (1896-1946) of South Australia made this fancywork apron, hence the AW embroidered on the pocket. It is a typical example of the many calico aprons with different designs - flowers, everyday items, and patriotic or contemporary images - that were embroidered by Australian women during the 1920's and 30's.

Donated by the National Trust (NT) McDouall Stuart Branch

Butter churn
This type of churn for household use was popular in the first half of the 20th century. Available in 4 sizes it consisted of a glass jar (the one pictured is contemporary) with a geared drive to operate the wooden paddle. With much muscle-power, the woman's patience was eventually rewarded with a lump of butter at the bottom of the jar.

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