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National Museum of Australia

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Ogden Smiths Mermaid fishing fly


Ogden Smiths Mermaid fishing fly

Object information


This fishing fly belonged to Thomas Lloyd Forster Rutledge, who was a keen fisherman. During the 1930s, he and some friends spent some time camping and indulging his passion for fly fishing for trout near the Crackenback river in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales.

Physical description

A fishing fly made with green, black and orange feathers with a single barbed hook, mounted in the centre of a small piece of cream cardboard and encased with clear plastic wrap. On the cream side there is a gold border with cream text. The text partially reads '"MERMAID" FISHING FLIES / OGDEN SMITHS / ST JAMES ST S.W.I / ...'. The back of the card has a green label with the partial text 'OGDEN SMITHS / ...' with a picture of a mermaid sitting on a fish 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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