Centenary of Canberra History and Heritage Advisor Dr David Headon today unveiled some of the treasures related to Canberra’s 1913 foundation stones and naming ceremonies.
Dr Headon acquired the items on loan from the family of Lord Thomas Denman, the Australian Governor-General 100 years ago. They will be featured in an exhibition he is curating at Parliament House, and include the gold ‘casket’ presented by King O’Malley to Lady Denman-- the original case she opened which contained the named ‘Canberra’.
“These items have never been exhibited anywhere before, either in England or Australia, and each precious piece gives us a fresh and very human sense of the people who took part in the formalities on that historic day,” Dr Headon said.
“The case, engraved with the Denman family crest and a special inscription, is well-used. We know that Lady Denman was a heavy a smoker – rare for women of that time—and King O’Malley knew it too. He made sure it would be of practical use beyond the ceremony.
“Another item is the cocked hat with plumes worn by Lord Denman on Canberra’s big occasion, which is encased in an imposing, purpose-made metal container.”
The Centenary exhibition, titled But Once in a History, will be held in the Presiding Officers Exhibition Area from 14 January to 3 April 2013. It also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the opening of Parliament House on 9 May 1988.
But Once in a History is a Centenary of Canberra project presented with support from the ACT Government, the Commonwealth Government, the Presiding Officers of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Department of Parliamentary Services and the National Archives of Australia.