‘Waltzing Matilda’ musical mugs and jugs made by Diana Ware

Made by Diana Pottery Pty Ltd in Marrickville, New South Wales, 1951-1952.

The musical jugs produced for a short time by Diana Pottery demonstrates the competitive and opportunistic nature of Australian post-war industry, and pottery production in particular. Japanese and British potteries as well as Australian competitors were vigilant in keeping up to date with market demand, and Japanese producers were especially capable of incredible turnaround in copying new products. Against this economic background, the disastrous fire at the potteries of Crown Devon in Britain ...


Object No.


Physical Description

Comprises two musical jugs and two musical mugs with relief decoration of a swagman. All four are painted in hues of blue, green and brown with the handle painted to resemble the trunk of a tree. Both mugs and one jug is glazed; the second jug is unglazed and may possibly be a factory second.



Diana Ware began production in 1940 in Marrickville, Sydney, and remained in production until 1975/1978.
(See: Magazine, Heritage Journal of the Marrickville Heritage Society No.8 1994. MAAS collection 2000/41/1-13/2)
Pottery situated at 122-126 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, Sydney.

From 1941 Diana was engaged to provide the armed forces, and resumed the making of 'fancy wares' for the general public in 1946. Post war utility however formally encouraged the production of non-luxury practical wares through the imposition of a higher tax on purely decorative wares. In response, Diana Ware, in common with other Australian potteries, manufactured decorative items with a practical use to avoid the tax.This explains the production of vases, ash trays and domestic crockery in preference to, for example, figurines. The 'Waltzing Matilda' jugs and mugs (or tankards) were another attempt to make practical items with a novel twist. The opportunity was made available to enter this section of the market in the early 1950s. From 1930 Crown Devon in Britain had dominated the manufacture of musical jugs and mugs. A disastrous fire in 1951at Crown Devon's factory halted production and Diana took out a patent on the 'Waltzing Matilda' range. The same Swiss manufacturer was used to make the clockwork mechanism as had been used by Crown Devon. The mechanism was wound, and only played when a pin was released as the vessel was lifted from a hard surface, then stopped when put down. The mechanism and complexity of the hand-painted design made them very expensive to produce, and they ceased production after around one year.

Alan Robb. Diana Pottery's Musical Jugs and Mugs, 'Australiana' 22 (1), Feb. 2000.
Geoffery Ostling. Desperately Seeking Diana, 'Heritage: Journal of the Marrickville Heritage Society, no. 8, 1994.
Dorothy Johnston. 'The People's Potteries', Dorothy Johnston Pub., 2002.


Diana Pottery Pty Ltd 1951-1952


Credit Line

Gift of Alan Robb, 2006

Acquisition Date

10 March, 2006

Cite this Object


'Waltzing Matilda' musical mugs and jugs made by Diana Ware 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 22 January 2018, <https://ma.as/358209>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/358209 |title='Waltzing Matilda' musical mugs and jugs made by Diana Ware |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=22 January 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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