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.  
Founded in 1870 as the Great Cobar Copper Mining Co., it was the largest copper mine in Australia and one of the largest mining and processing operations in the world at the time. It was situated on a slight ridge and facing West over the Cobar township. Huge smelters, a 64 metre chimney stack and electric generators supplied lighting for the whole town; where over 2,000 employees were engaged in mining, wood carting and smelting at the height of the activity. Later its success dwindled and the mine closed following the end of World War I, due to a reduction in demand for copper.

The Goblet was purchased from the wife of Sir Henry Parkes' great grandson who had been on the board of the mine.
Other items in the Fund Collection relating to Sir Henry Parkes include his cedar campaign secretaire, c.1880 and a terracotta sculpture by Nelson Illingworth, c.1898

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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