Potter throws fresh history

SKILLED: Anne, Bob and Stephen Schulze at the opening of 'Clay and fire' and Beechworth's Burke Museum.

A THREE-decade study of Beechworth’s industrial past has led to a limited edition book by Everton potter Bob Schulze that is sure to be sought out by collectors.

The skilled ceramicist has enjoyed the support of his wife Anne – a former Beechworth teacher, son Stephen and Beechworth’s Burke Museum to publish The early Beechworth potteries 1882-1892.

It was released on Saturday to coincide with the museum’s opening of ‘Clay and fire’ – a special exhibition of the potteries’ works and the people who made a new string in Beechworth’s post-gold rush economy in the early 1880s.

The exhibition – co-curated with the Burke’s Linda Peacock – includes fine examples of wares unearthed by Mr Schulze during his long career as a potter in the North East.

It also displays Beechworth pottery held in other collections, including that of the National Pottery Museum at Holbrook.

Indigo mayor James Trenery told opening night guests that Beechworth was “always full of surprises”.

“Not only was there a pottery here from 1882, but three in the same area,” he said – referring to research by Mr and Mrs Schulze that revealed successive potteries at Hurdle Flat had turned out utilitarian and decorative wares for a decade.

“The town thrives on the historic side of things.”

The potteries were on a property farmed by the Collins family.

Ms Peacock said Mr and Mrs Schulze had spent years piecing together research and found objects to reveal the story of the potteries.

She said Mr Schulze, with his deep knowledge of the potter’s craft, brought to the museum the luxury of a unique and close interpretation of this colonial-era industry.

Stephen Schulze, a computer artist, designed the book.

‘Clay and fire’ runs at the Burke Museum until December.


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