July 24, 2020

Weird Museums: A message in a bottle. Clunes VIC

You have to be suspicious about any town with a bottle museum. Surely it would take a population of dipsomaniacs to produce a sufficient quantity of empties to fill a museum, or in some cases, to build a
house or public chamber from discarded beer bottles.

But so many Australia towns boast bottle museums that clearly we are dealing with a national epidemic! Bundarra, Merriwa, Inverell and Tewantin are just a few with the latter, Queensland, town way up there for its “Big Stubby” and “House of Bottles” built from 35,000 short-necks.

To declare a winner in the beverage container stakes, Traveloscopy consulted bottle historian Ron Barry (antiquebottles.com.au) who quickly nominated the old mining town of Clunes in Victoria’s Hepburn Shire, home of the George Lee Medlyn Bottle Collection.

“For sheer volume, rarity and display, Clunes really tells the history of the region through empty bottles,” says Ron.

From hand-crafted convict “Spruce” ginger beer bottles from the 1820s through to the last of the dairy branded milk bottles, Australia really has a love affair with the classic glass and ceramic containers. And we’re prepared to pay for them too. One of only two existing examples of a rare Sydney whisky bottle recently sold privately for $27,000 – empty! And it’s nothing for old lemonade, cordial or spirit bottles to be worth several hundred dollars each. So head to Clunes and the Southern Hemisphere’s (reputedly) largest collection (more than 6000 items) of rare and unusual bottles for a lesson in vialology. You might just think twice on your way out to the recycling bin.

TIP: If you do find an old interesting bottle, Ron says it's okay to wash them. "But careful not to use hot water, as they can often crack. Plain tap water is fine."

The Lee Medlyn Home of Bottles
70 Bailey Street
Phone: (03) 5345 3896

Website: www.clunesmuseum.org Ph: 03 5345 3896

All material (c) Copyright Traveloscopy.com unless noted otherwise.

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