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Cushion that belonged to Arthur Calwell #2010-0254

Handmade Ukrainian cushion with multicoloured woven tapestry front and burgundy backing with GIFT from thankful Ukrainians embroidered in yellow thread.


This cushion is part of a collection of objects that belonged to Arthur Calwell, Australia’s first Minister for Immigration (1945-49) that were donated to the museum by his daughter, Dr Mary Elizabeth Calwell.

This cushion was made by members in the immigrant Ukrainian community and presented to Calwell at the Bathurst Reception Centre on 19th September, 1948. This cushion attests to the high regard held for Calwell in the immigrant Ukrainian community, one of the most numerous groups of Displaced Persons admitted to Australia in the post-war period under his widening of the sources of Australian immigration. The post-war migration sponsored by Calwell and continued by the coalition government after 1949 established a large Ukrainian Australian community which persists today.

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This cushion is significant as part of the Arthur Calwell collection, which is comprised of a selection of objects that belonged to Australias first Minister for Immigration (1945-49), Arthur Calwell. The collection is significant as a whole because it tells a story about a leading Commonwealth parliamentarian of the middle decades of the twentieth century and includes highly personal material which tells of Calwells family life, his life-long involvement in Labor politics, and his personal religious convictions. The Arthur Calwell collection at the museum uniquely links the personal with the political, thus affording an opportunity to conduct research which tells a rounded story of this important parliamentarian.

This cushion is significant as it is evidence of post-war migration and because it documents the high regard held for the first Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, by members of the Ukrainian immigrant community.


Calwell, Arthur, Be just and fear not, Victoria: Hawthorn, 1972.

Kiernan, Colm, Calwell: a personal and political biography, Melbourne: Thomas Nelson, 1978.

  • Cushion that belonged to Arthur Calwell - inscriptionCushion that belonged to Arthur Calwell - inscription —
  • Cushion that belonged to Arthur CalwellCushion that belonged to Arthur Calwell —


Width 375mm
Height 345mm
Depth 80mm
Medium Textile
Creator’s name Unknown
Date created Circa 1948