Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

National Cultural Heritage Account

PSnews online, Museum purchase strikes right note, 8 April 2015

The gold paperweight that belonged to Dame Nellie Melba

The gold paperweight that belonged to Dame Nellie Melba

Museum Victoria has bought a gold paperweight that belonged to opera luminary and national icon, Dame Nellie Melba.

The paperweight, which went under the hammer last week at Sotheby’s Australia in Melbourne, was purchased with a contribution of $136,620 from the Australian Government’s National Cultural Heritage Account.

Chief Executive of Sotheby’s Australia, Geoffrey Smith said: “It’s an incredibly unique object and incredibly important for Australia.”

The paperweight, which was created by Victorian company Hammerton & Sons in 1922, was presented to the singer by the people of Geelong for her fundraising efforts for the local hospital.

It is significant for its connection to Dame Nellie but also for many historical associations which include Australian iconography, the local gold and silver smithing industry and regional Victorian history of the 1920s.

“It is impossible to determine the true value of extraordinary and impeccable provenance,” Mr Smith said.

Through the National Cultural Heritage Account, $500,000 is made available each year to cultural organisations such as museums, galleries, libraries and historic buildings to purchase Australian protected objects, as defined by the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986.

The Account helps to ensure that significant Australian objects remain in Australia and are made accessible to the public.

Dame Nellie is of special significance to Victoria as she was born in Melbourne and took her name in honour of her hometown.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. No claim is made as to the accuracy or authenticity of the content of the website. The Council of Australasian Museum Directors does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) which is provided on this website. The information on our website is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the site undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. No responsibility is taken for any information or services which may appear on any linked web sites. Hostgator.