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18 March 2012 / leggypeggy

An afternoon in Dubbo

X-ray man machine pointing a ray-gum at the amphibians, a painted poster by Jumbo

Located on the intersection of the Mitchell, Newell and Golden Highway, Dubbo has a population of about 32,000 and the huge tourist drawcard of the open-range Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Our 12-day road trip from Darwin to Sydney didn’t give us enough time to see the zoo (I promise to go back soon and share it with you.)

But we did get a chance to look around the town.

Poor John and I headed straight for the Western Plains Cultural Centre—which was a lot farther away than the city map indicated—to see the local museum, as well as exhibitions from the National Gallery and the National Archives.

Space Invaders is part of the gallery’s collection of Australian stencils, posters, zines, paste-ups, stickers and street art. It’s been touring Australia for the last year and the Dubbo exhibit closes tomorrow. 😦

I hadn’t realised that the gallery has a large travelling exhibition program. It’s been sharing artworks with galleries, museums, schools and libraries in remote, regional and metropolitan areas.

They reckon that 9 million people have visited a travelling exhibit since they began in 1982.

Strike a Pose poster

With fashion icon and broadcaster Lee Lin Chin as guest curator, the Strike a Pose exhibition celebrated Australia’s emerging fashion industry, along with its personalities, trends and influences.

It featured 89 images taken by Australian Government photographers during the 1960s and 70s. Many images are drawn from the collection of the Australian News and Information Bureau, which took images to promote Australian industry and lifestyle overseas.

The centre also houses a local museum with memorabilia from the Dubbo region.

In the museum, I got a kick out of seeing Jackie, a famous embroidered tablecloth. It belonged to Ethel Steadman, a clairvoyant fruiterer. ‘A clairvoyant fruiterer’ you ask?

Apparently ‘Steadie’ told fortunes in the back room of her Talbragar Street milk bar. Jackie, her favourite embroidery, was always on the fortune-telling table.

A close-up of Jackie, the embroidery

She was a station cook before meeting her first husband, Mr Steadman. They bought the fruit shop on Talbragar Street after ‘the spirits’ told her it would be ‘a gold mine’.

People believed her predictions. She claimed that Queen Victoria’s spirit told her that a new queen, named Elizabeth, would visit Dubbo. She predicted the Dubbo flood of 1955 and where a young girl’s body would be found. Fortunately, Dubbo residents are still waiting for the earthquake she predicted. Steadie died in 1977 at the age of 97.

The museum had lots of other local items, such as a few pieces of ancient farm equipment and many memories from the Great War. I especially loved a very stylish pair of black shoes.


Leave a Comment
  1. Rhonda / Mar 20 2012 10:46 am

    Good to see that ‘out of towners’ appreciate our gallery, too!


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