Invitation to the Opening of the First Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, 9 May 1901. The invitation was sent to Mr & Mrs Anthony Clota.

The invitation was designed by John Longstaff and Norman Lindsay. The Weekly Times, 16 March 1901, described the invitation: 'The design is severely classical, and inspired with the motive of conveying a due sense of the greatness and dignity of this historic event.'

Physical Description

White card invitation of an engraving in several colours. Contains symbolic female figures and coat of arms representing the British and Australian Commonwealth. Central figure, seated, represents Justice. At her feet a crown and scepter are laid, 'to denote that the monarch will always acquiesce in laws passed by Parliament, provided they are just.' On the left appears a figure of Britannia, above the royal coat of arms and in front of the white cliffs of England; on the right is a female figure representing Australia, with one hand out-stretched and above the Australian Coat of Arms. Behind her is a pastoral scene; she stands beneath a gum tree. At the top is a border of waratahs; on the left is a border of oak. The six states are represented in shields at the bottom of the card.


The invitations is an important addition to the collection related to the Federation celebrations in Melbourne. This collection is a significant subsection of the Museum's Royal Exhibition Building Collection, Australia's only World Heritage built structure.
The majority of events represented by the invitations were held at the Royal Exhibition Building, which was the home of the first Federal Parliament of Australia, until 1927 when it was transferred to the new Parliament House in Canberra. Whilst the Museum already has a few examples of these invitations, it is desirable to acquire several more examples, which will be used as change-overs for those proposed for use in the new Melbourne Exhibition (which will be displayed for the first two years of the exhibition.

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