Antique Australian Liedertafel Brooch, Charters Towers
Rare Antique Australian Liedertafel Brooch, Charters Towers, c1900
A unique historical item from Charters Towers Queensland, this piece gives some insight into the cultural life of the gold rush days in the then booming city.
Charters Towers was founded in the 1870s when gold was discovered by chance at Towers Hill on Christmas Eve 1871 by a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy, Jupiter Mosman.
The goldfield did not reach its peak of gold production until 1899. During the period 1872-1899 the place changed from a rough settlement with bark and calico buildings to a thriving city of some 25,000 inhabitants
In 1900, the population reached 27,000 and Charters Towers was a bustling city with its own Stock Exchange, numerous Schools, Brewery, Hall of Arts, Hospital, Water Supply, Medical Hall and Department Stores. The timber buildings of the 1870's gave way to brick with majestic buildings constructed in the city centre.
Charters Towers was the richest gold field in Australia. The Charters Towers gold field produced over 200 tonnes (6.6 million troy ounces) of gold from 1871 to 1917. The gold is concentrated into veins, and was Australia's richest major field with an average grade of 34 grams per tonne. The grade was almost double that of Victorian mines and almost 75% higher than the grades of Western Australian (Kalgoorlie) gold fields of that time.
The wealth of the new city, and the diversity of it's inhabitants allowed its residents a rich social life. The Liedertafel was one such social group.
The term Liedertafel refers to a musical group or society. The Liedertafel had its origins in Germany in the early 1800s. Originally a society of men, who met together on fixed evenings for the practice of vocal music in four parts, eating and drinking forming part of the entertainment
"There was a splendid attendance at the Theatre Royal last evening when the Charters Towers Liedertafel, the only really live musical body in the North, gave the third concert of their thirteenth season, and with it they added another pronounced success to their mammoth list. Musically it was one of the best they have ever given, they having secured, for the occasion, the services of two of the leading lady vocalists of North Queensland…”
'The Northern Miner', Wed 27 October 1915
We have been unable to attribute a maker to this brooch but Jewellers in Charters Towers at this time included David L Lyall (1886-1918) R Binder (1875-1880), C Deitz (1880-1898) S J Eddy (1887-97), J Wilkie (1885-1887) J J Williams (1890 -)
Metal: 15ct yellow gold
Weight: 6.6 grams
Condition: Excellent antique condition.
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