The Rathbone Collection is owned by the Shire of Campaspe. Taken as a whole, it is a remarkable visual memoir. The artist, George Martinae Rathbone, lived and worked for most of his life in the region around Echuca as did his parents, and his maternal and paternal grandparents (the latter settling at St Germains in 1874).

The paintings include depictions of the earlier days of Echuca town and district, the river trade and pioneer life, which have helped shape the unique character of Echuca and its river port heritage so popular with tourists today.

Given that George Rathbone was a teacher for nearly half a century, it is not surprising that the collection has a great value as an educational tool. The accessible, friendly style and local history subject matter make it an engaging and informative platform for teaching history to both younger and older learners alike. The collection has artistic and historic significance as a substantial body of works within the Australia naive genre. Artists who make so-called “naive” art are visual story tellers, communicating about subjects from everyday lives, rather than focussing on technical achievement or art world recognition.

Nevertheless, within a very short period late in his life, George Rathbone achieved some status as a minor but established name within the naive genre, through the development of a signature style, exhibitions at reputed venues, media references and publication of his work. His work is augmented by the collection’s clear, well documented provenance and good physical condition and is still traded by dealers and auction houses today.



MICHAEL HAMMER (technologist in transition to artist)

During childhood and adolescence my primary interest was in science and technology, not art.  I had some appreciation of art but did not have the slightest desire to work in that field.

At university I graduated as an electrical engineer and took a job working for an international scientific instrumentation company based in Melbourne.  There I rapidly gravitated to research and innovation, dreaming up new product concepts and then inventing the technology that made them work.

Over time, my interest in technology dwindled and my interest in art grew.  I came to realise that creativity and innovation is the same, irrespective of the field of application, be it science or art.  Only the tools and medium changes.  I also came to realise that I would always need opportunities for creativity in my life even after I retired.

At a chance visit to Spotlight in late 2016 I saw some beautiful Japanese patterned quilting fabrics and I just wanted to use them to make something.  The result was my first quilt and with it the realisation that art quilting could be an ongoing creative outlet for me.  That was a bit over 5 years ago, four in retirement, and I have been quilting ever since.  All my sewing is by machine using a modern domestic sewing machine with a deeper than average throat.  I have not graduated to a long arm machine.

Looking at the work of other, more experienced, quilters I can see areas for improvement in my own work but I can also see a progression from my earlier quilts to my more recent quilts.  I feel I am still very much in an early learning phase but am improving and I am excited by the opportunity to explore the medium and see where it can take me.








Let’s Dance has returned after the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

 Clothing exhibition

Explore the various forms of dance


Past Exhibitions


 Cherished Memories


Report in Kyabram Free Press

 “FOREVER  bridal collection”

Isobel Harvie Exhibition

A large crowd gathered for the opening night of the exhibit on Sunday.

Isobel Harvie’s newest exhibit opened to general acclaim on Sunday 14th February at the Kyabram Town Hall.

The newest exhibit, Forever, displays more than 100 wedding dresses stretching from the Edwardian era of the last 1800’s through to modern day.

More than 50 special guests, Hall volunteers, family and friends attended the evening, with Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone officially opening the exhibit which will run for four months. Sharman Stone. Isobel Harvie

Isobel said the opening evening was ‘‘just wonderful,’’ and had been given an ‘‘amazing reception’’ by those in attendance.

‘‘They could not believe there were so many different types of wedding dresses,’’ she said.

‘‘They were blown away by the skills involved and the different types of fabric.’’

Covering two separate exhibit spaces, the display is the biggest ever hosted by the Town Hall.

Isobel said the display had come together within a week and that every dress had a story to tell.Official Opening of Forever

‘‘The front room is all the older gowns and the backroom is full with wonderful stories, including war stories, sad stories, happy stories, it’s just all so interesting,’’ she said.

Isobel said she hoped the display would help put Kyabram on the map, and help keep the Town Hall attracting visitors.

Beryl & Kevin

Beryl and Kevin standing in front of Beryl’s wedding dress.

‘‘The bookings for tours have been rolling in, I have a tour nearly every day this week and we have received bookings from as far away as Melbourne, it’s just fantastic,’’ she said.

The Forever exhibit will be on display at the Town Hall until June 13.

Admission costs $15 for adults and $10 for concession.

PAST EXHIBITIONS FROM THE “Isobel Harvie Collection”

imageEdwardian tea partyBoudoir_Collection


Kyabram Town Hall given a new lease on life

After extensive renovation Kyabram Town Hall launched into its new role and will once again be a focus for community members and visitors.

Kyabram Town Hall opened on 7th November 2014 as a: Community and Tourist Information Centre; Gallery space to ‘Splinter Contemporary Artists’ and other community or visiting artists; and especially to provide a permanent home to The  Isobel Harvie Collection of  Victorian and Edwardian historic clothing.

The generous donation of ‘A Stitch Back in Time’ to the Town of Kyabram, by Isobel and Keith Harvie in March 2013, on the condition that a permanent home could be found for the collection, inspired an enthusiastic group to approach the Shire of Campaspe with the suggestion that the vacant Kyabram Town Hall would be an ideal location to house the collection.

In May 2014 the Shire of Campaspe agreed to contribute $24,400.00 towards the project and agreed to free lease the building to Kyabram Town Hall Inc. on a one year trial.

This enabled work to commence on the renovations mid September 2014. Other Kyabram community groups and businesses also made financial or in kind contributions.

The major key to the success of the renovation however, has been the work of a team of skilled, dedicated volunteers that has ensured the renovations progressed quickly, proficiently and achieved a totally professional outcome.

The building works are now completed and the Kyabram Town Hall  opened its doors to the public on Friday 7 November 2014.

Kyabram Town Hall Inc has received fantastic support from the community and individuals and is always looking to extend its Information Centre volunteer base or receive expressions of interest for use of the spaces available in the hall.

An Edwardian Tea Party BY Nicole

You are invited to experience the elegance of the Edwardian Era.’ Isobel Harvie

A wonderful exhibition, the result of much hard work and time.” Kyabram Town Hall visitor testimonial.

Step back in time to see a most exquisite collection of delicate dresses, skirts, blouses, accessories and memorabilia exhibiting at the Kyabram Town Hall until Monday June 8th.

The newly refurbished Historic Kyabram Town Hall in Allan St reopened to the public on 7th November, 2014 with the financial assistance from Shire of Campaspe and local businesses, generosity from local volunteers, and a vision to find a home for Victorian and Edwardian clothing and accessories from the ‘Isobel Harvie Collection’, a donation to the Town of Kyabram.

Also within the Town Hall precinct is an art gallery featuring ever changing artworks from Splinter Contemporary Artists (an art group originating in Kyabram), a Community Art & Craft Gallery with exhibitions changing monthly, a gallery shop supporting local merchandise, and a Community and Visitor Information Centre.

An Edwardian Tea Party‘ from the Isobel Harvie Collection, officially opened last month at the Kyabram Town Hall, with a lovely garden and drawing room setting featuring beautiful afternoon gowns that they wore to tea parties during the Edwardian Era. The dresses in the exhibition are very fine, lacy, frilly and hand made.

“During this era, seamstresses were paid very poorly and barely made enough to cover their expenses.

“One seamstress worked 14 – 16 hour days and worked for a shilling a day,” Isobel explained.

Isobel’s interest in very old clothing came from when her grandmother came out from Scotland in 1916 and Isobel saw photos of her in some of the gowns which triggered her interest.

Isobel has a history in tailoressing. She did this for 5 years and had an apprenticeship for 4. In particular Isobel noted the standard of stitching that was required then.

“Old clothing has become an obsession with me and I’m still collecting and love it – It’s gorgeous!” she said.

Isobel worked in a very exclusive shop for wealthy people, ‘Buckleys and None’ in Melbourne. She was in charge of skirts, blouses and accessories, and she said it was a wonderful time. “I really, really loved that, then I got married and worked on a dairy farm for 18 years with my children, and my husband, Keith worked on the trucks. I then worked at a local dress shop and was there for 10 years running it, buying clothing, accessories and everything. It was just beautiful, just lovely. I have always dabbled in fashion, I just love it! I do love the old eras, yes.”

Isobel continued; “This is the Town’s exhibition and all the clothing belongs to the town and there are many more exhibitions to come and it wont ever grow stale as there is a huge amount of clothing, just beautiful! I hope it takes them back in time because the Edwardian Era was such a pretty era. I hope they really enjoy it.”

In this exhibition, Isobel features displays of WWI and ANZAC clothing and memorabilia as an honour for the soldiers lost during this time.

The Kyabram Town Hall is open daily from 10am to 4pm and is closed on Tuesdays. Tours of the Gallery are available.

For more information about the Kyabram Town Hall, go to:,

Facebook and search Kybram Town Hall, or call 5852 1546.

EARLIEST EXHIBITION of the ISOBEL HARVIE COLLECTION Originally called a “Stitch Back In Time”.

Viewing Isobel’s  collection is most enlightening —  it’s like getting a firsthand account of history. Isobel speaks with great passion about her pieces, and with an amazing ability to transport you right back to the era from which they came, with a well researched history of the people who wore these beautiful pieces all those years ago.

Not only does Isobel’s collection feature Edwardian and Victorian pieces, she also has garments from the Titanic era, and the civil wars. Each is thoroughly researched, and Isobel speaks knowledgeably of the soldier who headed to war, a wooden button encasing the perfume of his loved one sewn to his tunic. She talks of the young bride and her wedding trousseau, the religious garments of a priest and the sad story behind the child’s burial frock she has in her collection.

Isobel  painstakingly washes and prepares each of her pieces in readiness for an exhibition. Garments are fragile and handled with great care, hand washed, rinsed, dried, and pressed within an inch of their lives. A task that takes several hours if not days for a single garment with its intricate antique lace.

A visit to each of her exhibitions is an event not to be missed. Allow yourself time to absorb the surroundings, if you are lucky enough to have Isobel as your guide you are in for a memorable occasion.