A family heirloom brought to Young during the Gold Rush era has been donated to the Lambing Flat Folk Museum.
The bottle, predicted to be around 200 years old, contains a carved wooden ladder preserved in tank water known as Jacob’s ladder.
Former local, Lorraine Fraser, and her mother Florence Casey (nee Eastley) who resides at Southern Cross Village, Young believe “Jacob’s Ladder” refers to the old testament of the bible in Genesis, “God divided the cloud and lowed a ladder to earth for Jacob to lead the Jews to heaven”.
Lorraine believes the bottle was a wedding gift to Sarah Parkhouse and Richard Eastley from the UK who were married on August 4, 1842.
After being disinherited from their families due to religious reasons, the couple and their four children sailed to Australia in 1857. In July 1860 they travelled to Young with their six children and took up the first 20 acres of land at Spring Creek to create a market garden to provide produce for the gold prospectors.
“The bottle would’ve been of great significance to her to just bring that with her, with four small children back in those times," Lorraine said.
Eventually the bottle was passed down to Sarah’s youngest son, George, who left it to his eldest son, Alfred. Upon Alfred’s death, his brother William Eastley inherited the bottle, later inherited by his great-niece, Lorraine, who has had it for the last 22 years.
“As mum is the last surviving Eastley that we know of, we thought we’d do something with it while she’s still alive,” Lorraine said.
“That’s why we thought we’d give it a permanent home and bring it right back to where it all started here at Spring Creek where it will be looked after.”
Local historian, Brian James, said the item holds great historical significance to the area.
“It’s a very unique item and it is unlikely there is any others in Australia,” Brian said.
"I'd like to thank Lorraine and Florence on behalf of the museum for donating this very significant item.”
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