Following our visit to the Steventon Homestead we stopped at the small Glentunnel Museum.

The surprisingly extensive rooms of this museum tell of the early settlers and the industrial history of the area.

Coal was carried through a tunnel from the Homebush coalmine (1872 – 1938) by a now defunct railway to fuel the local pottery and brickworks.  The small octagonal library next door is reputed to incorporate all 59 types of the brick and terracotta items produced by the Homebush Brick, Tile & Pottery Works.

We saw pattern books for brick cornices and drainpipes next to handwritten ledgers in Pounds, Shillings and Pence.   Photos record the Royal Visit in January 1954.  One corner displayed grocery items many with labels still familiar to some of us.

Domestic items included oval-framed photo portraits of long gone local residents, treadle sewing machines, boot and shoe lasts, flat irons, butter churns, cast iron kettles and kerosene lamps – all displayed alongside heavy tools, cross-cut saws, even a portable blacksmiths forge and a huge set of bellows – all indicating the hard, physical work required for survival in past times.

Records from the local Lodge, the Women’s Institute, school rolls from 1879 onwards are included in this remarkable collection of items, demonstrating life as it once was lived in pioneering times.

Outside an elegant black marble plaque bears the words:

A MEMORIAL TO
ALL THOSE WHO
LABOURED IN CLAYPITS,
COALMINES, AND IN
THE POTTERIES IN
THE MALVERN AREA.

Beverley Eriksen
Member, Friends of Te Papa