Who doesn’t love a good story, especially one that involves semi-precious jewellery, the distant and not-so-distant past and a contemporary connection? Well, if that sounds like you, then read on…
Penghana was built as a home for Robert Sticht, the manager of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company from 1897 to 1921, along with his wife Marion. Just prior to taking up this role, while working on the west coast as the mining company’s metallurgist, Robert gave his wife a very special gift of a necklace. Over the years, they added a total of 27 pendants, or charms, many representing specific stories, places and events in the couple’s lives. It includes a tooth of their son Hadmar, a map of Tasmania engraved with their initials and Robert Sticht’s fraternity pin from his student days at Brooklyn Polytechnic.
Many years later, in 2018, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), with the financial support of the TMAG Foundation, acquired the necklace for the State Collection, recognising it as a tangible symbol of this significant couple and their role in the West Coast’s, history.
That necklace has already returned once to the West Coast, having been displayed at the Queenstown Library alongside other related items from TMAG’s collection during 2019, recognising the importance of sharing it and its story with the local community.
Flash forward to 2023, and the necklace has inspired a local artist to create a new work that is a modern response to Marion’s necklace, to be displayed at Penghana during this year’s Unconformity festival in October.
The Festival has been working with renowned Tasmanian jeweller and artist Emma Bugg, who is creating a new charm necklace that relates to other historic stories and community members, including your hosts (this ‘may’ include a tiny piece of our beloved pink and white china) and other locals. It will have the same number of charms (27) as the original necklace, so Emma has undertaken a lot of research and work to create it.
Emma says preparing the new jewellery has involved listening to stories and connecting with locals from Queenstown and representing them with a charm to become a part of a new piece of history.
“The new necklace includes charms that connect to personal stories, West Coast minerals and materials, and symbols of good luck.”
The necklace will be on display in Penghana’s ballroom during the Festival. Entry is free, although getting there requires a small amount of effort; access to the venue is via a staircase of 80 steps up from the Esplanade (as there is no public parking available).
Emma says “It has been an honour to be trusted with the creation of this piece, and I can’t wait to reveal it in the ballroom at Penghana at the Unconformity in October.”
We are looking forward to seeing it, and to welcoming festival goers to Penghana during The Unconformity to see it.
What: Gilded Memories – Marion’s Necklace on display at Penghana
When: During The Unconformity, 19-22 October 2023, 10am-6pm daily
Where: Penghana, 32 Esplanade, Queenstown, Tasmania
Details: Free of charge, no bookings required. Access is via around 80 steps from 32 Esplanade