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National Museum of Australia

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Set of drafting instruments and case used by James Pitkeathly


Set of drafting instruments and case used by James Pitkeathly

Object information

Physical description

A set of metal drafting instruments in a black rectangular case lined with black fabric, which features custom shaped indents for the drafting instruments. The set contains nine pieces.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of approximately 58 items relating to the life of James Pitkeathly (1895 - 1997), a Scottish migrant who worked as a mine manager and surveyor in the Hunter Valley, central Queensland and South East Asia. Pitkeathly also served in the Australian Infantry Force on the Western Front from 1916 - 1919.

When James Pitkeathly migrated to Australia the 'White Australia Policy' had been in place for over a decade. Potential British migrants were encouraged to come to Australia and offered assisted passages to do so. Pitkeathly brought with him much sought after coal mining skills and throughout his career worked in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and Bowen Basin, Queensland, two regions significant in the expansion of Australia's coal mining industry. During the 1920s Pitkeathly was employed by the Malayan Collieries Ltd and he worked in Borneo and British Malaya. This collection offers insight into the economic significance of the Australian coal industry and the development of major towns such as Newcastle as well as the experiences of a skilled Australian working and living in South East Asia. This collection also explores the life of Australian soldier embroiled in trench warfare on the Western Front during the First World War.

Object information

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