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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


Ball and ring bunion shoe stretcher


Ball and ring bunion shoe stretcher

Object information


This shoes stretcher was used on Gidleigh station, near Bungendore in New South Wales.

Tools like this were used on Gidleigh when working with sheep and cattle. Tasks included treating injuries and illnesses and ensuring stock remained healthy, as well as routine care such as feeding, watering, mustering, branding, castrating, ear tagging, weighing and vaccinating animals.

Gidleigh was purchased by grazier Thomas Rutledge in 1875. It was one of a number of landholdings that Rutledge owned in the district. In 1874 Gidleigh was handed over to Rutledge's son, William Forster Rutledge. In 1882 when WF Rutledge registered Gidleigh as a merino stud, Australia's wool industry was booming. The property remained in the Rutledge family until 2005.

Physical description

A black metal ball and ring bunion shoe stretcher. The tool is constructed from two pieces with in integrated spoon shaped handle. One side of the tool has a ring at the end with the other side a ball. The two halves are joined in the centre with a rounded metal nut. Text is cast on the ball half of the tool with 'G. BARNSLEY & SONS at the ball end and 'SHEFFIELD ENGLAND' on the handle end. The handles are sprung with a metal wire spring in the centre.

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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