Souvenir spoon for Tasmania
This very small souvenir spoon belongs to the collection of silver and EPNS (electroplated nickel silver) tableware, trophies, napkin rings and spoons made and/or used in Australia between the 1890s and 1950s. Presented to the Museum in 2002, the collection was assembled in the 1980s by Dr G W Kenneth Cavill, an Emeritus Professor of the University of New South Wales. In his retirement, Professor Cavill has researched and published the histories of notable Australian silverware manufacturers of the first part of the 20th century. The collection is representative of their products.
Giftware, such as spoons and napkin rings, is particularly well represented. Spoons of Australian design, decorated with Australia's unique flora and fauna, were made from at least the 1890s. Some of the earliest were made in Tasmania, a popular tourist destination for mainland Australians at the turn of the century. Steamships sailed regularly from Sydney and Melbourne to Hobart and ports of the northern coast of the island. P. C. Abbott of Hobart registered designs for souvenir spoons with kangaroo, emu, Tasmanian tiger and possum finials in 1894. . These were soon followed by spoons that were distinctively Tasmanian. William Golding and Son were among the makers of spoons with map-of-Tasmania finials and Trigonia shells as bowls supported by silver mounts that joined the shell to a twisted stem. Inscribed 'Tasmania' on the finial and made about 1910, the spoon is a good example. (See: K. Cavill, 'Commemorative and souvenir spoons of Australian interest, 1894-1994', Australiana, 1994 (4), pp 95-106.)