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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


Dry cleaning brush

Object information


This Mutax dry cleaning brush was used at Gidleigh station. These brushes were produced in Britain in the 1920s and used for dry cleaning clothing at home. Dry cleaning spirit, such as petrol, was poured into the reservoir in the brush's handle and would seep down the bristles of the brush.

Physical description

A white metal dry cleaning brush with black bristles. The handle is a hollow reservoir with a wood base that has rows of stiff bristles. The reservoir section has a rounded screw cap at one end with the text 'ALL BRITISH MUTAX PATENT / No 176263' cast at the top. The text 'MADE IN ENGLAND' is engraved into the rim of the reservoir section on one side. Several patches of bristles are missing from their mounting holes and there are several dents in the reservoir.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises over two hundred objects belonging to the Rutledge family of 'Gidleigh', a pastoralist property first established near Bungendore, NSW, in 1855. The collection includes tools used for agricultural practices, animal and household management, and equipment used for fly-fishing and horse-riding. Collectively, these objects illustrate aspects of rural life and domestic activities undertaken most notably by Jane (Jean) Ruth Morphy Forster Rutledge (1853-1932) and her son Thomas Lloyd Forster Rutledge (1889-1958) during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This collection is illustrative of broad areas of Australian social history including pastoralism, medicine and veterinary science, and domestic and recreational lives. The land at 'Gidleigh' was first granted to Admiral Philip Parker King (1791-1856) in 1834, and was subsequently purchased in 1855 by Irish settler Thomas Rutledge (1817-1904) to run sheep and cattle. The family owned and managed the property for 150 years until 2005. This collection offers significant research potential into both rural self-sufficiency, and agricultural and veterinary technologies.

Object information


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