I was fortunate to visit Eskbank House Museum in Lithgow before the pandemic put a stop to my adventures.. The oldest part of the colonial Georgian house was built circa 1842, from local sandstone. Its original owner was Mr Thomas Brown, who established the Eskbank Colliery.
There is a lot of early Lithgow history on display, but my visit had a specific purpose. I had arranged an appointment with Cultural Development Officer Rebecca Dallwitz , to see some relics of Barton House, Wallerawang. The property was the location of the horrific double murder of siblings James and Lue Barton on September 26 1948, by a young farmhand.
Following the shootings there was a huge, and rather bizarre auction of the contents of Barton Park. The story of that day is told HERE.
We can only presume that the Barton Park pieces on display at Eskbank were purchased at the sale, and later donated or acquired by the museum. Unfortunately there is little detail on record.
The most spectacular item is a beautiful, 19th century pianoforte made by Broadwood of London. It is very moving to see this symbol of happier times at Barton Park.
In one of the outbuilding is a lady’s side-saddle. A catalogue card notes that this too came from the Barton’s old home at Wallerawang. It may have belonged to Lue and James’ mother, Georgina.
A third item which is not recorded as having belonged to the old house, but strongly suspected to have been is a cedar fireplace surround.
Finally; a little more prosaic, but interesting nevertheless is that the sandstone in this outbuilding came from Barton Park’s stables after they were demolished. The house was demolished too, and the site itself disappeared below water when Lake Wallace was constructed in 1978.
There must surely be other mementoes of Barton House in private homes. It would be wonderful if some surfaced. An exhibition about Barton Park is being planned at Eskbank House so I’m sure they would love to hear of any local ‘finds’.
This light fitting is not related to the Bartons, but really caught my eye.
Eskbank House Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year.
It’ an easy walk to Eskbank from the railway station . I was writing up my notes at a café afterwards while I waited for the train back to Blackheath. Lovely to see wattle decorating the tables.
UPDATE – An exhibition called True Crime Barton Park is currently being held at the museum and will run until December 9. On Tuesday, December 6 there will be a talk on the history of the old piano.
For further details click HERE.