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this im­ple­ment at a clear­ing sale at a large prop­erty near Cu­dal, NSW, for around $15, and would love to know what it is. The only sim­i­lar thing I can find on the in­ter­net is a vin­tage French flour sifter. Mine is hand-pow­ered, but the metal wire on it is too small to be a grain and husk sep­a­ra­tor. It has a small slid­ing metal door and some stamps on each end, which are faded but seem to read ‘The Shell Com­pany Aus­tralia Ltd’. I would love to know more! Ni­cole Evans, CARGO, NSW

This looks like a home­made flour sifter from the days when flour was not as finely ground. Yours would once have been mounted on a stand. Be­fore elec­tric­ity, ev­ery house­hold, es­pe­cially in the coun­try, had a sup­ply of kerosene lamps. The Shell Com­pany pro­duced kerosene in square tin cans that were trans­ported in wooden boxes. Set­tlers put the empty tins and boxes to good use mak­ing fur­ni­ture, some­times called De­pres­sion fur­ni­ture, but they were of­ten made long be­fore the 1930s. Even though in­com­plete, col­lec­tors of vin­tage kitchena­lia and Aus­traliana would ap­pre­ci­ate your sifter.

John Mcphee is an art his­to­rian who worked in art mu­se­ums for 30 years and was cu­ra­tor of Aus­tralian Dec­o­ra­tive Arts at the Na­tional Gallery of Aus­tralia.


2ND MOD­ERN DE­SIGN A range of items in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture. Leonard Joel, Mel­bourne. leonard­ 19TH AUS­TRALIAN AND IN­TER­NA­TIONAL ART Home­grown and global works. David­son Auc­tions, Syd­ney. david­sonauc­ 21ST IM­POR­TANT AUS­TRALIAN ART Ex­pect sig­nif­i­cant ex­am­ples of his­tor­i­cal, mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralian art. Sotheby’s Aus­tralia, Syd­ney. sothe­bysaus­ 28TH FINE ART Mostly Aus­tralian paint­ings and sculp­ture, Leonard Joel, Mel­bourne. leonard­

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