This presentation key is a tangible link to the major educational institution in central Melbourne, which has been in existence since 1887.

Melbourne's Working Men's College was founded with funds provided by prominent grazier, Scottish immigrant and philanthropist Francis Ormond, and Victorian trade unions. Although it was not until 1887 that the first students attended the Working Men's College, the college was an immediate success with over 900 students enrolled by the end of the year. Students undertook a variety of subjects including mechanics, physics, bookkeeping, elocution and arithmetic, as well as certain trades such as cookery, carpentry and dressmaking. In 1899 full courses were introduced, in the areas of Applied Arts and Technology. The Applied Arts, covering such areas as architecture and industrial design, grew to such an extent that a separate 'School of Applied Arts' was established, and its own complex opened in 1917. This key was presented to the Governor of Victoria Sir Arthur Stanley to mark this occasion.

The School of Applied Arts has produced a number of prominent graduates, in areas such as Engineering, Industrial Design, Architecture and Fashion and Textile Design, who have gone on to have influence locally, nationally, and internationally.

Physical Description

Enamelled 15ct gold presentation key with Australian hallmarks 'ES' flanked by kangaroo and emu, engraved on both sides. Superb handcrafted fretwork design of wattle foliage and oil lamp atop a book stack.


The School of Applied Arts has been the preeminent design school in Melbourne since the early 20th century, providing training in jewellery, textile design, furniture design, architecture and art.

The key also relates to a number of other presentation pieces in the Museum Victoria Collection, particularly in silver and gold, which relate to important Melbourne institutions and events.

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