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National Museum of Australia

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Swordstick or swordcane that resembles a walking stick

2005.0031.0001

Swordstick or swordcane that resembles a walking stick

Object information

Physical description

Swordstick that resembles a walking stick. It has a golden brown hooked wooden handle and sheath shaft. The handle has a decorative gnarled feature on the backward facing side of the end of the handle. A plaited copper wire decorative band surrounds the aperture of the sheath. There is a brass guide inside the top of the sheath with an elongated slot in the middle to match and accommodate the flat slender double-edged blade of the sword. The black rubber foot on the bottom of the sheath is stretched, cracked and brittle. "FABRICA DE TOLEDO 1927" is cast or engraved in relief in a cartouche on one side of the polished steel blade close to the brass bush that holds the blade in the handle. The wooden sheath is generally scratched and bruised, and the handle is worn. There are several longitudinal splits and small borer holes in the sheath.

Statement of significance

The Terrylea Reynolds Collection consists of a walking stick which contains a sword. The object belonged to Major General George Vasey and subsequently his widow Jessie Vasey. Mrs Vasey gave the object to William Yoxon who built many of the Victorian homes for the War Widows' Guild of Australia, which was founded by Jessie Vasey.

Major General Vasey was a major figure in Australia's military history. A decorated officer of the Western Front battles of the First World War, Vasey served with distinction in the Second World War, fighting in North Africa, Greece and Crete, and Papua New Guinea where he was a divisional commander. Returning to Port Moresby after sickness in early 1945, he was killed in an air crash off Cairns. He was one of Australia's most significant commanders of the war. Jessie Vasey founded the War Widows' Guild of Australia (WWGA) shortly after the end of the Second World War. As well as successfully obtaining an increase in widows' pensions, she launched a housing scheme to deal with one of the main obstacles faced by war widows - affordable accommodation. That Mrs Vasey gave her late husband's walking stick/sword to William Yoxon in appreciation of his work in erecting many of the Victorian houses reflects her passion for this work. The object is unusual in its dual function and is a decidedly exotic memento of the Vaseys' lives.

Object information

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