Silver Bracelet presented to Miss Spedding, North Otago Museum 02/19

Behind The Scenes At North Otago Museum - Miss Spedding's bracelet

Work is underway at North Otago Museum on refitting the permanent exhibition area. The Museum has over 30,000 items in its care. Each item has its own story. They can’t all fit in the new displays so staff and volunteers have been researching the tales behind some of the objects to ensure those with the most interesting and relevant stories make the cut.

This beautiful sterling silver bracelet with gold detailing was presented to Miss Selina Amy Spedding in 1884.

Selina was born around 1859 in Victoria, Australia and her family moved to Dunedin when she was 2 years old.

At the age of around 22 she started work at Oamaru North School as a teacher. When she left Oamaru North School in April 1884 Miss Spedding was presented with this bracelet by her fellow teachers. She also received another silver bracelet from the students. Miss Spedding had left to take up a teaching job in Dunedin but by 1885 she was back working at Oamaru North.

Female teachers were required to resign upon marriage during this era. Miss Spedding married Frank Kemshed on the 3rd of January 1887. Perhaps unsurprisingly this time round there were no more silver bracelets presented. Instead she received a “handsome time-piece” on behalf of the teachers and pupils.

On the 1893 suffrage petition Selina has listed her occupation as domestic duties. Her hands would have been full at that time with a 5 year old and a 3 year old. The family later moved from Oamaru to Whanganui and then to Dunedin. Ultimately the couple had four children together. Between 1904 and 1906 she, now Mrs Kemshed, is listed as a teacher at Broad Bay School, Dunedin.

She remarried widower Michael Nyhon in 1907. Michael died in 1946 and Selina passed away in 1951 at the age of 92. The bracelet was donated to the North Otago Museum by one of her grandchildren.

Chloe Searle