Review – Curator’s Tour of Old Government House

On October 6, after a delayed start due to the National Day of Mourning, eleven of us visited Old Government House on 6 October for a tour of the current temporary exhibition, Making Good: Convict Artisans in Exile, guided by curator Anna Ridley.
We learned that, purely by chance, most of the silversmiths who were transported from England ended up in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) where they were able to fashion beautiful silverware and jewellery.  
We saw a rare Wedgwood ‘copy’ made by a convict who had worked for the Wedgewood company in England and had managed to bring one of the moulds with him to Australia.
Governor Macquarie encouraged many of the convict artisans. They included William Temple and John Webster who were commissioned to make two chairs engraved with the Macquarie crest, and James Oatley who made the clock in the Hyde Park Barracks, as well as many long clocks that he sold to wealthy settlers.  
At the conclusion of the tour, we had time to look through the ground floor of Old Government House, furnished in the style of Governor Macquarie when he lived there from 1810-1821.