Mr Busby's cutlery

IT WAS a mysteriously kind gesture that sparked a flurry of activity at Wingham Museum recently. 

A stranger purchased a box of knives and forks from an antique shop in Canberra and sent them up the coast with a friend who was travelling to Coffs Harbour.

The simple instruction was to drop the box at the Wingham Museum. 

Unfortunately, not much more is known about the anonymous donor but the friendly folk at the museum are hoping to spread the word so that an address can be obtained. 

They would like to say thank you and ask why someone would go to such expense.

Barbara Waters, president of the Manning Valley Historical Society, said she is very curious and suspects that the person from Canberra has connections with the Manning Valley.

Fortunately the box is in pretty good condition and still has the original engraved plate on the top giving clues as to the identity of the original owner. 

In clear script it states: "Presented to W T Busby Esq by the members of the Manning River A and H Association - In appreciation of services rendered as acting hon. secretary May 9 1888". 

With this information, Barbara and her team set out to find out more. 

What they found was an article published in the Wingham Chronicle on June 21, 1888. 

The Chronicle reported that Mr W T Busby had been presented with a "souvenir" and went on to describe two boxes of knives and forks that were said to be very handsome and useful.

It would seem that two boxes have now become one with what appears to be a mix of the original contents of both boxes surviving the past 125 years.

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