The Margaret Widdup Collection



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The Margaret Widdup Collection, acquired by MAGNT in 1981, comprises approximately 200 objects that represent the lifestyle of the Goodman family who moved from England in the early 1880s to Australia's most northerly regions. The family was involved in the pearl shell industry and the most interesting elements of the collection revolve around pearl shell jewellery and trinkets.

Three streams of history emerge from the Margaret Widdup Collection; the Goodman family history, the history of the jewellery and pearl shell items and their makers, and the social history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries on Thursday Island and Darwin, and the connection between the two. The donor, Margaret Widdup (nee Goodman), was the youngest daughter of George Plestead Goodman, the son of William Goodman, a Buckinghamshire farmer from England. Her father made the extraordinary decision in the 1880s to travel halfway across the globe to the remote, north Australian colonial island of Thursday Island. He moved the family to Palmerston (Darwin) in the late 1890s and lived in the Point Charles Lighthouse between 1905 and 1910. Point Charles Lighthouse is the first one constructed in the Northern Territory in 1892. Charles Point is located on the northern end of the Cox Peninsula, 21 kilometres from Darwin. Reference: Angel, Anita, Research Report: The "Margaret Widdup Collection" at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (unpublished), Northern Territory University, 1997.


George Plestead Goodman; Margaret Widdup; William Goodman.

Jewellery; Pearls

Pearl shell; Pearling; pearl jewellery; Point Charles Lighthouse

Coverage Spatial

Thursday Island, Queensland, Australia; Palmerston, Northern Territory, Australia; Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia; Charles Point,Northern Territory, Australia; Cox Peninsula,Northern Territory, Australia

Coverage Temporal



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