The Springfield Collection comprises about 1550 artefacts from Springfield station, south of Goulburn. It includes colonial era costumes, a bushranger medal, surveying instruments, a late-19th century landau, firearms and edged weapons, wool samples and Joseph Foveaux's pocket watch and bible. The objects are complemented by over 400 photographs.
This diverse collection reflects the growth and economic success of the property, responses to changes in the wool market and the daily lives of the people who have lived on Springfield. Springfield has grown from a 518-hectare land grant given to William Pitt Faithfull in 1828 to the current 3183 hectares with ownership remaining in the one family. William Pitt Faithfull established the Springfield Merino Stud in 1838 with ten rams selected from the Macarthur Camden Park stud. The stud evolved slowly over the years until the early 1950s when, under the management of Jim Maple-Brown, a scientific approach to wool-growing was adopted and the stud's name was changed to Fonthill to reflect this.
Clothing is a significant component of the Springﬁeld Collection. Garments dating from the early 1800s are made in silk and fine lace, with beaded ball gowns, wedding dresses including matching shoes and hats, children’s clothing replete with fancy (if impractical) bonnets, school and military uniforms with insignia, and riding habits, including those speciﬁ cally designed for ladies riding side-saddle and others (more daring) who chose to ride astride in the black silk ‘free and easy’ riding underwear.
The large number of photographs included in the Springﬁeld Collection are especially important, not only for the context they often provide for an object, but for their documentation of sheep station and the lives of those who live there. Some of the black and white and sepia photographs are of exceptional quality, and they give unique insights into the Springﬁeld story.
The Springﬁeld Collection comprises a wide range of material highlighting aspects of the pastoral economy (shearing equipment, wool samples, framed photos of stud rams etc) as well as all the paraphernalia of the household, illustrating the everyday lives of the property owners, the Faithfull and Maple-Brown families, from the early 1800s until the present day. The collection's signiﬁcance lies not just in the number and range of objects and the wide coverage of important aspects of colonial history. What gives this collection exceptional value is the rich and secure provenance of the objects, and the strong connections between objects (including photographs and ofﬁcial documents, personal reminiscences and letters).
Copyright National Museum of Australia
Physical access to collection is by appointment only