National Trust Collections

Help us raise funds to conserve rare archaeological treasures and other precious heritage items.

Current appeal focus

During a recent archaeology field school at the National Trust’s Peninsula Farm, UWA students excavated the old farm well and made some exciting discoveries.

They found a number of intact bottles – which is rare as glass bottles are usually broken – and a mass that appears to be a hessian bag containing fabric and potentially glass. Interestingly, there were no alcohol bottles among the glassware. The Hardey family of Peninsula Farm were strict Wesleyan Methodists so this is not a surprise.

Most significantly, the student archaeologists found a pair of waterlogged men’s leather shoes. UWA archaeologists have confirmed the bottles found around the shoes date between 1890 and about 1920, providing a tantalising clue to the footwear’s origins.

Historical significance

One speculation is that the items were thrown down the well soon after Richard Hardey sold the farm, so they may have belonged to the Hardey family, who established Peninsula Farm.

The lack of alcohol bottles in the glass goods around the shoes supports this theory, as the Hardeys were teetotal Methodists.

There is a good chance the shoes might have belonged to Richard Hardey or possibly even be a pair handed down from his father and the original farm’s owner, Joseph Hardey.

While they could have belonged to a farm labourer the style appears to be formal and therefore more likely to belong to the landowner.

Conservation of the shoes will ensure they survive for the future and open the door to future research and investigations into their origins. They have the ability to provide insight into the Hardey family themselves. It is anticipated the conserved shoes will be exhibited at Peninsula Farm, providing further insight into the wealth of information that may lie beneath our feet.

Please donate to our conservation appeal

Conservators Dr Ian MacLeod and Rinske Car have examined the artefacts and devised a plan for their conservation.

The National Trust is aiming to raise an initial $3000 to conserve the shoes through a process using Polyethylene Glycol to remove the water and stabilise the leather.

Our stretch target is $7500, which will enable the conservation of the Peninsula Farm shoes and other archaeological material currently in storage.

If you’d like to contribute to conserving a unique piece of Western Australian heritage, please make a donation to the National Trust collections appeal.

As a registered charity, all donations we receive of $2 and above are tax deductible.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.

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