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A2368 Teapot, commemorating Australian Federation 1901, earthenware, made by Doulton & Co, Burslem, England, c. 1900. Click to enlarge.

Commemorative earthenware teapot made by Doulton & Co

The Federation of the Australian colonies on 1 January 1901 inspired a wide range of commemorative wares celebrating both the 'birth' of the new nation and the abiding closeness of Australia and Britain. On one side of the teapot a formal portrait of Queen Victoria has a British soldier on one side and an Australian on the other, symbolic of the agreement by which Britain supplied naval defence for Australia and Australian soldiers promised to defend the Empire. On the reverse is the only Australian figure -- Sir Henry Parkes, the 'father of Federation' -- next to the first governor general, Lord Hopetoun. However Parkes had died in 1896. His most effective work for Federation had been at Tenterfield in 1889 and he had little to do with subsequent negotiations leading to the writing of the Constitution and the referendum campaigns. Similarly although Hopetoun had been a popular governor of Victoria he proved unpopular as a governor general, appointing William Lyne (rather than the far more popular Edmund Barton) as the first prime minister. Joseph Chamberlain's words 'May the Union Between the Colonies and the Mother-Land now cemented by their blood, be for ever maintained' reflects his role as secretary of state for the colonies which meant he introduced the Commonwealth Constitution Bill into the British House of Commons.

Aedeen Cremin (ed), '1901: Australian life at Federation, an illustrated chronicle', UNSW Press, 1901


Object No.


Object Statement

Teapot, commemorating Australian Federation 1901, earthenware, made by Doulton & Co, Burslem, England, c. 1900

Physical Description

Glazed earthenware teapot and lid with C-shaped handle. On the body of the pot are the portraits of Queen Victoria inside a wreath framed by two British soldiers, the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra (Duke and Duchess of York), Henry Parkes and Lord Hopetoun. The handle and spout of the pot are decorated in a gold transfer print of acanthus leaves. Gold floral motifs of waratahs run around the lid and on top of the lid's C-shaped handle. There is also a small round hole in the lid midway between the handle and the decoration.


On the front side of the teapot an inscription reads 'AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION 1901' and on the rear 'MAY THE UNION BETWEEN THE COLONIES / AND THE MOTHER-LAND, NOW / CEMENTED BY THEIR BLOOD BE FOR / EVER MAINTAINED' (Joseph Chamberlain). The Doulton Burslem maker's mark appears on the base.



135 mm


235 mm


140 mm




Doulton & Co were one of the major producers of commemorative wares covering political and military events which were celebrated with a variety of mugs, jugs, busts, flasks, vases and teapots. The design for the Australian federation ceramics was by John Slater and John Shorter.



  • 1901


The Commonwealth of Australia was inaugurated on 1 January 1901 in a ceremony in Sydney's Centennial Park. The official signing of the documents followed a parade through the city streets from the Domain, along Macquarie Street and out through Pitt Street to Oxford Street. Fire fighters, police, stockmen, trade unionists, representatives of foreign governments, British Empire troops and Australia's first governor general, Lord Hopetoun, marched through the lavishly decorated streets watched by a crowd of 250,000. Ten plaster arches spanned the roadway representing aspects of Australian life. A special pavilion, designed by NSW Government Architect Walter Vernon was erected in Centennial Park for the Declaration of the Commonwealth and the swearing in of Lord Hopetoun, the first Prime Minister Edmund Barton and his ministry. The same pen, inkstand and table were used as had been used by Queen Victoria when she signed the Australian Commonwealth (Constitution) Act on 9 July 1900. The Ceremony ended with a massed choir singing God save the Queen and the Hallelujah chorus followed by 10,000 school children singing Advance Australia fair and Rule Britannia.


Credit Line

Gift of Thomas and Martha Lennard, 1921

Acquisition Date

1 June 1921

Cite this Object


Commemorative earthenware teapot made by Doulton & Co 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 March 2021, <https://ma.as/174860>


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