Medal 'Northern Rhodesia', crest-shaped depicting Victoria Falls and an eagle holding a fish, reflecting the Northern Rhodesian coat of arms. Collected by Sylvia Boyes or Lindsay Motherwell in their travels around Africa. Date unknown.

Sylvia Boyes (a South African-born orphan) and Lindsay Motherwell (a Melbourne-born drummer) met in Cape Town, South Africa in 1967 through their theatre connections. They fell in love but due to apartheid laws were forced to leave South Africa to marry in London. They subsequently relocated permanently to Melbourne in 1970.

Physical Description

A medal shaped like a crest. The crest depicts Victoria Falls in coloured enamel, and underneath is a dark blue banner with "NORTHERN RHODESIA" written on it. Across the top of the crest is a gold fish in the claws of an eagle. The eagle's wings span almost the whole length of a tri-colour ribbon in navy, burgundy and pale blue. There is a bar across the top of the ribbon, with a vertical pin attached.


Statement of Historical Significance:
This collection provides a significant opportunity to represent political and personal freedom as a motivation for migrating to Australia within the international context of both apartheid in South Africa and the end of the White Australia policy in Australia. The personal narrative is well documented and the objects provide a material way to follow the lives of both Lindsay and Sylvia, both separately and where they coincide in South Africa and onwards together to Melbourne. While this is ultimately a love story, it plays out through the collection against the backdrop of apartheid South Africa, sixties London and an increasingly multicultural Australia.

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