The collection comprises family books principally of Edward Sparke (1831-1902) and his familyfrom Maitland, including a Bible and accountancy reference aids.
Edward (1831-1902) was the grandchild of Edward Sparke Snr (1769-1844) and Mary, who with their five sons and nephew arrived free in the Colony, February 1824 and settled in the lower Hunter Valley (Dulcie Hartley (1995) Men of their time - pioneers of the Hunter River). Edward Snr, a devoted supporter of his Church, in 1841 conveyed six acres of his "Woodlands", Upper Hexham, to the Church of England for a church, and one acre for a burial ground., and in 1842 four acres with house (for Parsonage) to Bishop Boughton. The Bible in the Collection (F220.5203/1, published 1813 (4?) is believed to be that of Edward Sparke Snr, which in due course passed to Edward (1831-1902) his grandson.
Edward (1831-1902), born nearby at "Webland Park", Hexham, married Amelia Caroline Mackay (1840-1888) of "Melbee", Dungog, in 1863. In 1869 the family relocated to Melbourne Street, East Maitland. Edward was associated in business with James Price, James N Brunker, and Joseph Clift. In 1867 he established the livestock firm Brunker & Sparke, and in 1877 Sparke & Clift, which evolved to E.W. Sparke Limited operated by his son Edward William Sparke, whose family in due course sold the business in 1949.
The various name inscriptions on the collection items (gifts, prizes) refer predominantly to members of Edward and Amelia's immediate family. There is reference to Charles MacKay, Amelia's brother, and to Vincent Francis Dowling, her brother-in-law married to her sister Jane. The inscription A.M. McMullin (Q366.103/1B) is of a later era. [Sir Alister A.M. McMullin, the University of Newcastle's first Chancellor, was the Uncle of the Collection's donor (Mrs C.D.C. Throsby, nee J.V. Sparke).
The information above was kindly supplied by Mr Edward James Sparke, 19 January 2009.