It may just be a scrap of paper, but a recent find by Orange Regional Museum's Collection Manager, Allison Campbell, is truly 'a nugget of pure gold'.
While preparing objects for our upcoming exhibition 'Inherit: old and new histories' Allison found herself sorting through items from a nineteenth-century sewing basket.
Handed down through the Carroll family, the sewing basket is part of the Summer Hill collection, recently donated to the Museum.
Among the ribbons, buttons, needles, lace, and silk thread was a small slip of paper bearing the name 'Ly-ee-Moon Relief Fund ... Ticket No. 3001'.
Further investigation has revealed a fascinating story of shipwreck and a local connection.
Built in 1859, the steam ship Ly-ee-Moon was one of the fastest of its time.
Beginning life in the opium trade, the ship also served as a blockade runner during the American Civil War, suffered a collision in Hong Kong and a fire at Darling Harbour.
The Ly-ee-Moon was scuttled, refloated and refitted before beginning a new life in 1878 servicing the coastal route between Melbourne and Sydney, and eventually all the way to Brisbane.
While travelling this route on May 30, 1886, the Ly-ee-Moon struck a reef at Cape Green, near Eden, with a total of 55 passengers, 40 crew, and assorted cargo all on board.
All but a handful of passengers perished, and the enquiry that followed, coupled with harrowing tales of rescue and loss, made national news.
A charitable fund was set up to aid the survivors, widows, and orphans of the wreck.
Miners from the New Reform Gold-mining Co., Lucknow, donated £75 7s 8d, a rich sum at the time.
The mine manager, H.W. Newman, was still disheartened at what he saw as a lack of public support for the cause and donated 'a magnificent specimen of gold' to be raffled as a fundraiser.
He hoped to raise £1,000 and committed his miners to purchase the first fifty tickets.
By October sales were so disappointing that a 'disgusted' Newman threatened to withdraw the nugget.
When drawn in December 1886, less than half the tickets had been sold, raising £375 of Newman's anticipated £1,000.
We know the Carroll family had connections with the mine. Perhaps this ticket was one of the first 50 issued?
Orange Regional Museum interprets the stories, cultures and places of the region, displaying artifacts that trigger memories, engage audiences and inspire new ways of thinking about history and cultures.
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