Stratford Historical Society and Museum

News from the Stratford Historical Society and Museum, in Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria. We are open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm, and the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Our postal address is P.O. Box 145, Stratford, 3862.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Snakebone Necklace

Currently on Display at the Museum is ......

A Snake Bone Necklace, origin unknown. It is part of the "Personal Choices" Exhibition.


This a circular necklace made of snake bones and red beads, threaded onto copper wire. It contains twenty bones, each with a red bead between it and the next, with five red beads near a rough hook catch. The bones appear painted, possibly with calcomine.

Chosen by: Ros Benson
Member of the Stratford Historical Society.

Why? Necklaces are something I like, and I don’t mind snakes.

Makers of Snakebone Necklaces

Two local women who made these necklaces were:

Minnie Blucher (nee Wanke) (c.1891-1976) who lived at Briagolong in the 1940s. Highly artistic, she eagerly sought out snakes, killing many around Noble’s Bridge. Peter Mills of Briagolong remembers that she would hang them on fences for maggots to eat away the fresh, and painted and dyed the bones. She also used spine bones from cattle for ornaments.

Bella Buttsworth (1882-1951) was the daughter of Thomas and Rachel Mills of Briagolong, and the aunt of Ina Worseldine of Maffra.

Ina remembers her making these necklaces in the 1920s, and that she placed beads in between the bones. The comment was also made that she often put large bones at the front and smaller ones to the back.

Bella obtained the bones by boiling the dead snakes down, and then left the bones out on logs in the sun to bleach.


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