Presentation trowel used in laying the foundation stone of Sydney Town Hall

Made by Kerr, William in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1883.

This trowel was used in laying the foundation stone of the Great Hall of Sydney Town Hall on 13 November 1883.

It relates to the history of a prominent Sydney family. Lizzie Henrietta Harris, to whom the trowel was presented by aldermen of the city, was wife of John Harris, Mayor of Sydney. Their daughter Mary Ann was herself Mayoress of Sydney in 1888 and 1889, during the five terms in which her father was Mayor.

It was made in the workshop of William Kerr (1838-1896), a leading watchmaker,...

Summary

2006/161/1
A triangular presentation trowel in silver with undulated edge at the curved silver shank resting on a ball support. Blade inscribed in the centre within a fern engraved border: 'Presented / by the / ALDERMAN / of the / CITY OF SYDNEY / to the Mayoress / MRS JOHN HARRIS / on the occasion / of the laying the / FOUNDATION STONE / of the / GREAT HALL/ of the / TOWN HALL / Sydney / 13th Nov 1883'. The inscription begins near handle and progresses down the blade towards the tip and is framed by a large gold spray of Australian flowers including a banksia and native pear. A small eagle on a wreath is attached to the downward sweep of the shank and above the inscription. The floral spray emanates from the shank and is secured to the sides of silver blade with [gold] pins, some of which are missing. The turned, slightly waisted ivory handle is decorated in low relief with longitudinal acanthus leaves and berry-like decoration to the end, and applied with an openwork [gold] cipher including the initial 'H'.

Dimensions

97 mm
53 mm
283.5 g

Production

The presentation trowel was made by William Kerr in Sydney in 1883. It is the only known surviving example with such inticate Australian floral decoration.
Kerr, William 1883

History

This presentation trowel was used by Lizzie Henrietta Harris in laying the foundation stone of the Great Hall of Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1883.
Harris, Lizzie Henrietta 1883

Source

Donated through the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program by John Atkinson, 2006
18 December, 2006

Cite this Object

Presentation trowel used in laying the foundation stone of Sydney Town Hall 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 August 2017, <https://ma.as/360279>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/360279 |title=Presentation trowel used in laying the foundation stone of Sydney Town Hall |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 August 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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