Silver teapot featuring an eagle head with open beak at the mouth, and mask at base of spout The teapot was a prize trophy from Geelong & Western District Agricultural & Horticultural Society awarded to Miss Caroline Elizabeth Newcomb in 1856 & 1857 for 'Potatoes, Cauliflowers, Asparagus and for Turkeys'.

Caroline Elizabeth Newcomb was a pioneer squatter in Victoria. Born in London in 1812, she migrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1833 for health reasons. In April 1836 she accompanied John Batman and his family to Port Phillip as temporary governess. While there she met Dr Alexander Thomson and his family, and went to stay with them in Geelong. There she met Anne Drysdale, and when Anne decided on Boronggoop as the site for her run, they formed an intimate relationship. Anne was an experienced farmer and 20 years senior to Caroline. A cottage was built for them, the Armstrong family and others entered their employ, and a home was established. Anne's diary 1848-1849 is held at the State Library of Victoria. It is not known if Caroline and Anne were lesbian partners or close friends.

Anne died in May 1853, and Caroline inherited the property. It was during this time that she won the teapot. In 1861 Caroline married Rev. James D. Dodgson at Wesley Church, Melbourne. She accompanied her husband on Methodist circuit work. Caroline died in 1874.

Part of a Museum Victoria collection documenting the material culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities in Victoria. In 2005 the Museum joined with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and the State Library of Victoria to conduct a survey of GLBT material culture in public and private collections in Victoria. Refer Kate Davison (2006), Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender Material Survey: Project Report 2006.

Physical Description

Silver Teapot. Spout features an eagle head with open beak at the mouth, and mask at base of spout. Handle is designed with inward curls at top and bottom joins, with ornate thumb rest on top, ivory inserts at top and bottom of handle. Body of teapot is round and heavily floriated with rose designs, and features a cartouche on both sides - only one cartouche is inscibed. Lid is hinged and has an ebony, oval shaped handle. Ornate base with four feet. Stamped with hallmarks underneath.

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