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Rosary that belonged to Elizabeth Calwell #2010-0259

Rosary comprised of gold links and imitation pearls, with a crucifix showing Christ crucified suspended from the end.


This rosary is part of a collection of objects that belonged to the Calwell family that were donated to the museum by his daughter, Dr Mary Elizabeth Calwell.

This rosary was a gift to Elizabeth Marren, later Elizabeth Marren Calwell, from Arthur Calwell during the 1928 Eucharistic Congress in Sydney. According to their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, this was a turning point in the relationship between the two, as they had previously decided to end their courtship. Elizabeth was at the time a journalist and the social editor of the Roman Catholic weekly, Tribune, and wrote under the pseudonym of ‘Cecilia’.

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Statement of values

This rosary is significant as part of the Arthur Calwell collection, which is comprised of a selection of objects that belonged to Australia’s 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 Calwell’s 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 rosary is significant as evidence of the central significance of Catholicism in the private life of the Calwell family, and also has significance in relation to Calwell’s family life.


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

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

  • Rosary that belonged to Elizabeth CalwellRosary that belonged to Elizabeth Calwell —
  • Rosary that belonged to Elizabeth CalwellRosary that belonged to Elizabeth Calwell —


Width 20mm
Height 436mm
Depth 5mm
Medium Metal; plastic
Creator’s name Unknown
Date created Unknown