Australia’s youngest uni takes up age old tradition


 Ceremonial Mace
The Ceremonial Mace represents the authority of the University Council

History was made this week at Charles Darwin University when hundreds of years of tradition were recognised with the gifting of its first mace to be used for ceremonial purposes.

The Ceremonial Mace represents the authority of the University Council and its head, the Chancellor. It will be used for the first time at the mid-year graduation ceremonies this week.

CDU Executive Director, Corporate Services Debra Farrelly said the Ceremonial Mace was traditionally gifted, and would be given to the CDU Chancellor Her, Honour The Honourable Sally Thomas AM by Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber at Government House today.

“The CDU mace was commissioned in 2010 as a gift by Flinders University Council,” Ms Farrelly said. “Well-known silversmith Glenice Lesley Matthews was commissioned to design and make the University Mace, but she passed away before completing the piece. The project was then entrusted to Samuel Farmer, a silversmith who worked with Glenice for more than 20 years.” 

Originally a weapon in the shape of a club, Ms Farrelly said the Ceremonial Mace had evolved into a decorative and ceremonial object of value and beauty.

“At the centre of the CDU mace lies the ‘flame of knowledge’ linking to the traditional use of firesticks as a way of passing on knowledge,” she said. “The mace also includes Charles Darwin’s telescope and pandanus leaves, which feature prominently on our Top End campus. The CDU brand features strongly on the tropical timber shaft with bands of sterling silver and yellow gold.”

Carried by a Mace Bearer, the mace is intended to represent the protection of a person of authority, such as reigning monarchs and religious leaders, or the Chancellor of a university. The mace will be carried for the first time at the graduation ceremony tomorrow, May 23. The ceremony will commence at 5pm with the academic procession.

The Ceremonial Mace was gifted at a ceremony at Government House today (Wednesday, 22 May).

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