Australia Thousands of historical treasures from pioneer Sloane family sell at auction
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Since 1862, the Sloane family has called 50,000 acres of pastoral land in the Riverina home, making it one of Australia's oldest farming families.
Last week, more than 2,000 historical treasures from the family's estate were sold at auction online.
From 100-year-old ceramics to one of the first maps of Queensland, the Sloane family estate is one of the largest and rarest collections of historical items from early Australian settlement to go under the hammer.
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Amanda Benson, head of fine art and antiquities for Lloyds Auctions, said the auction was rare in its offerings.
"We are lucky to see a collection like this once every 10 years," she said.
"The auction was very successful and we have passed the history on to future generation and future collectors."
Some of the big ticket items include original pottery by Australia artist Merric Boyd, who was the father of esteemed Australian artists Arthur and David Boyd. A jug by Merric Boyd, dated 1916, sold for $5,680.
Other popular items included historical books and maps from the collection. More than 800 maps and books sold for upwards of $50,000.
Ms Benson said one map of Queensland dated from 1863 and had hundreds of bidders. It was eventually saold for $1,500.
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"This particular map from the 19th century sparked a lot interest and was just one item from the comprehensive book and map collection," Ms Benson said.
The Sloane family name has been associated with agriculture and trade for more than 160 years, with members first settling in Mulwala and establishing Sloane and Co, which eventually became leading agribusiness firm Elders.
The family was also involved in the early days of federation and established a local railway.
Pioneers of early settlement
The Sloane family's story in Australia started when brothers Alexander and William left Glasgow and arrived in Melbourne in 1849, just prior to the Victorian gold rush.
The brothers did well selling gold and soon went into agriculture.
When Alexander's wife, Annabella, was diagnosed with consumption (tuberculosis), the family was forced to move north to a drier, warmer climate.
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The couple bought 50,000 acres of land 20 minutes north of Lake Mulwala, just across the border in New South Wales, and established Mulwala Homestead.
They had 10 children and in 1910 when Alexander Sloane died, each child inherited a portion of the 50,000 acres.
Their third son, Willy, inherited Savernake Station, which today is home to fourth-generation farmers Alexander and Ann Sloane who still farm prime lamb and cereals and also give tours of the property.
"Having such a long history on site and being not short of space to put up a new shed, nothing has ever been thrown out," Mrs Sloane said.
"The archives, the photographs, the maps, the memorabilia that have been collected here have been quite extraordinary."
Savernake Station makes the heritage list
In 2012, Savernake Station was given an official listing from the Heritage Council of NSW for its significance in the understanding of pioneer pastoral and agricultural life.
Mrs Sloane said it was important for the property to get the heritage listing in order to keep the family's historical collection together.
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"I think to have it all in the one place is wonderful because not just the family, but the general public can come along and understand what the story was behind pioneer settlement, Indigenous culture and environmental values," she said.
The 2,000 items up for auction from the family's estate came from a different branch of the Sloane family.
Alexander and Ann purchased a few items in the auction to bring back to Savernake Station.
"One item that we were very happy to obtain was a little portable writing desk that old Alexander Sloane used from the 1850s," Mrs Sloane said.
Alexander and Ann are in the process of cataloguing all the artefacts on display at Savernake Station. The original homestead, built in 1886, is now a museum that encapsulates life on the farm more than a century ago.
Some of the oldest items at the station are letters written by Jean Sloane in 1898 about her experience moving from the United Kingdom to Savernake, describing her new home as a "strange land".
Ann believes the dry climate has helped preserve many of the items from the family.
"The diaries we have date back to the 1860s and they are as legible as the day they were written," she said.
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