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Tin - Phoenix Biscuit Co, Centenary of Melbourne, 1935 Object Reg. No: HT 13572

This tin was produced by the Phoenix Biscuit Company of Grosvenor St, Abbotsford, in 1935 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of European settlement in Melbourne. On the front is an image of the ghost of John Batman gazing upon a contemporary Melbourne skyline, which was used with permission of the Centenary Celebration Council.

In 1934, as Melbourne planned to celebrate the centenary of European settlement, it seemed to some that there was little to celebrate. The financial strains of the depression, unemployment and the scandal of the city's slums all undercut claims of unbridled progress. Perhaps because of such troubles, the organisers of the centenary celebrations tried doubly hard to be positive. The themes of the celebrations were conservative, reflecting the desire of some Melburnians for security in troubled times. The widely promoted image of the 'Garden City' and 'Queen City of the South' emphasised the idea of Melbourne as a very British city. A visit by the Duke of Gloucester, son of George V, the ageing king, provided a reassuring strengthening of Melbourne's imperial connections.

The presented view of Melbourne's history stressed the 'myth of the pioneer', embodied in the person of John Batman, as featured on both official and commercial items such as this tin. Elevated to heroic status, he was reinvented as a courageous pioneer whose life exemplified the rewards of self-improvement. Such a portrayal ignored Batman's dubious 'treaty' with local Aborigines and the less savoury details of his personal life. Melbourne's indigenous people were excluded from this triumphant view of Melbourne's past.
A rectangular metal tin, with curved edges and a hinged metal lid. The top of the tin is decorated with the image of a male ghostly figure resting his hands on a rifle, whilst looking over 1930s Melbourne and the Yarra River. tin is printed in tones of blue/green.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 4.5 cm (Height), 14.5 cm (Width), 24.5 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: advertising, celebrations, victoria centenary 1934-1935
Themes this item is part of: John Batman, Pastoralist & Melbourne Pioneer (1801-1839), Domestic & Community Life Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection, The Founding of Melbourne, 1835
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: PUBLIC EVENTS
Secondary Classification: Centenary of Victoria
Tertiary Classification: souvenirs
Inscriptions: Text, lid of tin: THIS WILL BE THE PLACE/ FOR A VILLAGE/ John Batman's Diary June 9th 1835.
Distributor: Phoenix Biscuit Company, Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia, 1934-1935
Person Depicted: John Batman, Victoria, Australia, 1934-1935
Place & Date of Event: Victorian Centenary, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1934


dianne mattingly Posted on 04 Mar 2010 6:15 PM
ihave an old tin of my mothers. it has the H.R.H the duke of gloucester on the top and ships on all 4 sides.could you tell me how old it would be
Discovery Centre Posted on 05 Mar 2010 12:00 PM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi Dianne, Museum Victoria offers a free identification service. To complete this identification, we require images of the object. To send an enquiry, click on the 'Ask the experts' link above and then on 'Identifications' in the menu at left.

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