Springfield Station near Goulburn, New South Wales, was established by William Pitt Faithfull (1806–1896), whose father had come to Australia in 1792 with the New South Wales Corps. The Springfield stud flock was founded in 1838 with 10 rams from the Camden flock and in time Springfield became an extremely prosperous sheep station. A new two-storey house with a tower was built in 1858, surrounded by gardens, stables, a coach house, woolshed, flour mill and cottages housing about 100 station staff and labourers. In 1896 ownership passed to Faithfull’s son Lucian Faithfull (1855–1942), who had been managing the stud flock since he was a young man. In 1942 Springfield was inherited by his daughter Florence (Bobbie) Maple-Brown, whose husband Irwin Maple-Brown was a prominent grazier in the Cowra district. Their son Jim Maple-Brown took over the property in 1964. The Maple-Brown family sold Springfield in 2005.
In 1965 Bobbie and Jim Maple-Brown donated a large collection of Faithfull family papers to the Library. At the same time, they presented a selection of books from the library at Springfield. They were to be kept together as a record of the kinds of books bought by Australian pastoralists and read by their families, especially their children, in the period 1850–1950.
The Maple-Brown Collection, sometimes called the Springfield Collection, comprises 614 books and pamphlets formerly in the possession of the Faithfull and Maple-Brown families. The books were mostly published overseas in the period 1850–1950. A significant proportion of them are children’s books. Apart from novels, they include scripture readings, prayer books, hymn books, works on theology, school textbooks and some historical works.
Among the authors represented in the collection are many who were extremely popular in their day: R.M. Ballantyne, R.D. Blackmore, John Buchan, Marie Corelli, Arthur Conan Doyle, Daphne Du Maurier, Maria Edgeworth, Juliana Ewing, George Gissing, Elizabeth Goudge, Zane Grey, Rider Haggard, Anthony Hope, W.H.G. Kingston, Edward Bulwer Lytton, E. Nesbit, Beverly Nicholls, Baroness Orczy, W. Clark Russell, Margery Sharp, Horace Vachell, Edgar Wallace, P.G. Wodehouse and P.C. Wren.
The collection also contains a number of children’s magazines such as:
Kind Words for Boys and Girls (1870–78)
Little Folks (1877)
Little Wide-Awake (1883–89)
Sunday Magazine (1884).
The books have been kept together as a collection. The call numbers have the prefix MB.
In 2005 the National Museum of Australia acquired the Springfield Collection, which encompasses family archives, photographs, books, artefacts, clothes, guns, farm equipment and machinery, and other materials.
Rickard, Sue, The Springfield Collection: Suitable Sunday Reading and The Golden Fleece, National Library of Australia News, vol. 2 (9), June 1992, pp. 7–10.
Taylor, Peter, An Australian Country Life: A Portrait of Bobbie Maple-Brown, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1986.
Taylor, Peter, Springfield: The Story of a Sheep Station, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1987.