The Bibby’s of Tasmania
Below is a picture of a spoon made in Tasmania and marked ‘BIBBY STERLING’. The bowl is made from a Trigonia shell and is held in place by silver mounts. This is a style of spoon that was produced around 1900 – 1920 with different finials. Other makers included William Golding and Son. There are two examples of Trigonia souvenir spoons in the Powerhouse Museum collection in Sydney.
Bibby was a watchmaker and jeweller based in Hobart, Tasmania. The first appearance I can find of him is at the Tasmanian International Exhibition of 1894-1895. I can’t say whether they were exhibiting there, but father, mother and son all had mug shots taken, as below (along with all the other visitors). I’ve taken these from the Tasmanian Government’s State Library site: http://catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/
with the following references: NS738-1-302, NS738-1-320 and NS738-1-358.
Some ten years later Bibby released a series of adverts in Hobart’s The Mercury
, apparently sporadically until 1915 (though we may have just a sample on-line). All were presented in a similar way, as per the example below, with just the details changing. On February 29th, March 31st, and April 4th 1904 Bibby was advertising a huge range of ‘Tasmanian Souvenirs for Visitors’ and is revealed as Leo H. Bibby of 90 Liverpool Street. On October 6th 1908, he advertises ‘Engagement and Wedding Rings’ and on April 14th, 19th and 21st 1915, ‘Tasmanian Souvenirs’ (including souvenir spoons). By August 9th 1915 we find him selling ‘Wedding Presents’. By now Leo was no longer mentioned and the address was instead 41 & 43 Liverpool St. Perhaps by then Master F. Bibby had taken over, but Mr and Mrs Bibby were a young couple in 1894 and 21 years later were likely still to have been in business. I’ve included below an example of one of these adverts. Source: The Mercury
April 4, 1904 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/9680224
An article dated 16th July 1913 refers to a change of ownership of the Liverpool Street shop, having been taken over and greatly improved by another jeweller, Mr Flint
. It’s quite long, but worth reading to get an idea of what a Tasmanian Jewellery shop was like at the time. Source: The Mercury
July 16, 1913: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10292339
It seems that Leo Bibby was also interested in football and was rather profitable in business, The Mercury
running a report on May 2nd 1908 covering a 2ft high silver shield that he had presented to the league. A quick search on the web shows that it continues to be presented to this day. Source: The Mercury
May 2, 1908: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12685602
I’m sure that The Mercury
has more to say about Mr Bibby and would be a very informative source for other Hobart silversmiths.