Convict potter Thomas Bell's rare work at Holbrook museum

Heritage consultant Mary Casey, a director of Casey & Lowe, helps Geoff and Kerrie Ford of the National Museum of Australian Pottery open the first exhibition of some of Australia’s earliest pottery. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

Heritage consultant Mary Casey, a director of Casey & Lowe, helps Geoff and Kerrie Ford of the National Museum of Australian Pottery open the first exhibition of some of Australia’s earliest pottery. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

AS pottery expert Geoff Ford would happily tell you, sometimes it pays to be persistent.

As co-owners and directors of the National Museum of Australian Pottery at Holbrook, he and Kerrie Ford knew they had to be the first to exhibit a rare find by archaeologists in 2008.

Their persistence paid off at the weekend when they opened “The Sherds of Thomas Ball”.

It displays the earliest Australian-made pottery ever found, having been uncovered in George Street, Haymarket by Sydney firm Casey & Lowe.

“We knew the archaeologists and have been pestering them ever since,” Mr Ford said.

“It’s the first exhibition of its kind to the general public... it’s a coup for Holbrook, our museum is the only museum of its kind in Australia.”

Thomas Ball, a trained Staffordshire potter transported to Australia for seven years as a convict in 1797, set up a pottery in Sydney about 1801.

The display features reconstructed pieces including dishes, bowls, cups and saucers and is open for 10 months.

The museum is open 9.30am-4.30pm daily except Wednesday.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop