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Mug depicting Governor Davey's Proclamation to the Aborigines of Tasmania 1816

2005.0071.0001

Mug depicting Governor Davey's Proclamation to the Aborigines of Tasmania 1816

Object information

Physical description

Hand-made and hand-painted cream-coloured ceramic canister mug with a blue rim, handle, and ring around the base. Two narrative tableaux, derived from illustrative panels for Governor Arthur's 1829 Proclamation, are painted in horizontal panels around the side of the mug. They depict British troops, settlers, Aboriginal people, and a vice-regal party making a proclamation. The tableaux imply that the governor wants everybody to live in harmony, and that he will administer capital punishment in the form of hanging, equally to Aborigines, settlers, and soldiers, if killings occured. "19 VM 34 / Governor Davey's / Proclamation / to the Aborigines / of Tasmania / 1816. / Bothwell / Tasmania" is applied in black on the base.

Statement of significance

The object is a hand made pottery canister mug, with handle. The decoration on the mug shows scenes from the panels of the 1829 Proclamation illustrations commissioned by Governor Arthur and designed by Surveyor-General George Frankland. On the underside of the mug is a hand painted inscription "19 VM 34 'Governor Davey's Proclamation to the Aborigines of Tasmania 1816' Bothwell Tasmania", indicating the maker of the mug, Violet Mace, the year of production and its original provenance.

The mug decoration is actually based on the 1860s lithographs of the original 1829 boards illustrating Governor Arthur's Proclamation to the Indigenous peoples of Tasmania. The inscription on the base of the mug repeats the same incorrect title of the later lithograph images, which attributed the illustration and event to Governor Davey in 1816. The mug, made in 1934, is therefore testament to the fact that this image and the incorrect information later attributed to it, were long perpetuated and became iconic in public memory.

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