Australian Historical Art Fund & Heritage Government Residences

Copper Goblet, 1888

Great Cobar Copper Mine, NSW
Height 15.5cm

Inscribed: ‘SPECIMEN / from / GREAT COBAR COPPER MINE / Presented / to / SIR HENRY PARKES G.C.M.G / August 1888'

Poured from the mine’s first ingot, and then presented to Sir Henry Parkes, the Father of Australian Federation, this goblet provides a record of the opening of the Great Cobar Copper Mine.  

Powderhorn, c.1840

Carved cow horn
Length: 24.5cm

With a cameo style cartouche, this carved cow horn designed to hold gun powder, illustrates the beginning of free settlers migrating to Australia; it is a souvenir of a particular voyage of migration (1839-40), showing the only known image of The James Pattison, a three masted vessel with a square rig coming through the heads at Sydney Harbour circa 1840. Around this circular image are fish, scrolls, shell motifs, an anchor, a trident, a sword, a spear, a plain flag, a British flag and a sun with the carved initials "G.R." possibly the initials of the scrimshaw carver. It is not known if they refer to George Roberts who was a painter and glazier on the ship, or Dr. George Roberts, the surgeon on the ship.


Birthday Book, c.1919

Dame Mary Hughes (1874-1958)
Leather bound 
Width: 15cm Height: 20cm Depth: 2.5cm

This book belonged to Dame Mary Hughes, the second wife of the former Australian Prime Minister W.M.Hughes (1915-1923). It is a simple brown leather-bound volume. She dated each page and invited both famous and lesser known people of the twentieth century to sign the book on the page corresponding to their birthday between 1919 and 1951. The autographs include King George V and Queen Mary, Banjo Patterson, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Randolph Hearst, Sir Isaac Isaacs, Lord Louis Mountbatten, H.V. Evatt, Sir Anthony Eden, Queen Elizabeth II, Field Marshall Montgomery and Helen Keller. There were also quotes supplied by various contributors such as Cheerfulness is the sunny ray of life (Genevieve Hard July 19th, 1921).


Medallion of William Charles Wentworth, 1854

Thomas Woolner (1825-1892)
Diameter: 23cm

In 1852 Thomas Woolner emigrated to the Victorian goldfields of Australia but was unsuccessful making his fortune.  He had been a member of the key artistic movement in Britain, the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, and his emigration to Australia inspired fellow member Ford Madox Brown to create the well known emigration painting, "The Last of England".

Abandoning his search for gold he reverted to sculpture, making medallion plaques of prominent society figures of Melbourne and Sydney. He began with the politician William Charles Wentworth who wrote to the artist in 1854: "I beg you to allow me to testify the satisfaction I feel at your medallion of me".


This selection represents a small sample of our collection. Our book detailing the collection is currently out of print.
An updated edition has been published in 2017.
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