Archive for July, 2011

Bits and Pieces #2 – Being Patient

While looking through the National Library’s Trove Website for newspaper articles on the Tasmanian potter Maude Poynter I came across an article from the Mercury dated April 5th 1924 describing an exhibition of Miss Poynters works at Hobart Town Hall.

The article goes to great lengths to describe the works on display by both Miss Poynter and Miss Mace (Violet Mace) that it really makes you wish they had taken a photo or two. Particularly of the Mah Jong set created by Miss Mace (where is it today?!!!).

One thing that struck me though was that in 1924 Miss Poynter was planning to upgrade to an electric furnace once the wires finally reached her home town of Bothwell in Tasmania. This struck a particular chord with me as a recent migrant to a semi rural part of the Apple Isle who is currently waiting on a cable (albeit a different kind of cable) to arrive in our town.

The modern day cable I speak of is the the long awaited roll out of the Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN). The first stage is complete and the lucky few at Midway Point have had their services switched on and are already enjoying high speed internet goodness. From what we can tell Kingston is next on the list for the roll out but that’s still more than 40kms “down the road” from us so we aren’t holding our breath for connection any time soon.

However, we do have an internet connection, we just want a better one. We don’t have to make do or find alternate ways of doing our business it just takes a a couple of seconds longer (or minutes depending on if the fog is blocking our wireless signal) to get things done compared to out big city counterparts or indeed the lucky few at Midway. I don’t know how we would cope waiting for something as important as electricity to makes its way this far south.

A year later though Maude returns to Hobart to hold another Exhibition with Miss Mace and in the Mercury article dated March 25th 1925 it is noted that “in view of the near approach of the supply of power to Bothwell some beautifully designed electric reading lamps were objects of special interest.”.   To put this into a little more perspective, Hobart had its first electric street lamps switched on around 1897. Even my old home town of Hurstville in New South Wales had power by 1910 and was working to get the lines as far south as Sutherland by 1912.

But still Miss Poynter waits…

In June 1928 however, luck finally turns Maude’s way and we see in the June 22nd edition of the Examiner the final approval for connection of electricity to the Ratho pottery at Bothwell was granted.

Maude Poynter moved to Ratho at Bothwell in 1918 and had to wait 10 years to get her lights put on!

If Maude can wait 10 years I guess I’ll have to learn to be a little more patient waiting for slightly better internet…

A photo of Maude Poynter at work in her pottery taken from the Mercury’s “Woman’s Realm” supplement dated October 16th 1935. Interestingly, Maude is still using her old pedal powered potters wheel. Hopefully she has the electric light on though!



POTTER’S ANCIENT ART. (1924, April 5). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860-1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from

GENERAL NEWS ITEMS. (1925, March 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860-1954), p. 13. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from

BOTHWELL COUNCIL. (1928, June 22). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900-1954), p. 8 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from

Photo of Maude Poynter

Posted: July 10th, 2011
at 11:58am by Tim

Tagged with , , ,

Categories: Australian Pottery,Bits and Pieces

Comments: 1 comment