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Donation is timely

HISTORIC TIMEPIECE: Kenyon Mortimer donated this clock, once owned by Sir Henry Parkes, to the Tenterfield School of Arts.
HISTORIC TIMEPIECE: Kenyon Mortimer donated this clock, once owned by Sir Henry Parkes, to the Tenterfield School of Arts.

IT'S not often you can walk into a museum and tell the curator you've got something at home that would be better suited to the museum's collection.

But that's exactly what Ballina's Kenyon Mortimer did a couple of months ago on a trip to Tenterfield.

Visiting Tenterfield to see his chiropractor, Mr Mortimer dropped into the Tenterfield School of Arts, home to a collection regarding Sir Henry Parkes, one of the driving forces behind Australia's federation.

For more than 50 years, Mr Mortimer has owned an antique clock first given to his great-grandfather, Alfred Fowler, in the 1860s.

Mr Fowler was given the clock by Sir Henry when Mr Fowler worked for Mr Parkes' Sydney-based importing business.

Since then, it has passed through three generations of Mr Mortimer's family, before spending the last two years on a side board in Mr Mortimer's Ballina home.

However, during his recent trip to Tenterfield, Mr Mortimer realised the clock's rightful place was with the Tenterfield School of Arts.

"I went in (to the School of Arts) and the ladies there said, 'Would you like to have a look at the Henry Parkes (display)?'," he said.

"I said, 'No, but I think I might have a couple of additions for it'."

And so following this, on the site where Sir Henry, in 1889, delivered an address which inspired the movement toward federation, Mr Mortimer delivered the clock to the School.

"It's a very rewarding accomplishment. I've always been interested in history," he said.

"I just thought it'd be better off in the museum.

"It's in its rightful place."

The timing couldn't have been better.

Shortly after giving the good news to the museum, the School held a commemorative dinner celebrating the 123rd anniversary of Sir Henry's Tenterfield speech.

Mr Fowler was invited along to officially hand over the clock, as well as a vase also given to Alfred Fowler by Sir Henry.

The items are now safely with the school for future generations to admire.


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