Skip to the content
Content starts here

New South Wales Catholic Club Badge that belonged to Arthur Calwell #2010-0276

Metal oval badge with inscription ‘LIFE MEMBER NEW SOUTH WALES CATHOLIC CLUB’ on the front and ‘A. A. Calwell M.P.’ engraved on the back.

History

This badge 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 badge belonged to Arthur Calwell. The Catholic Church in New South Wales remained more closely associated with the Australian Labor Party in the aftermath of the Split of 1954-55 than in Calwell’s own state of Victoria, where he was often attacked by pro-Democratic Labour Party activists as a traitor to their cause. This very different approach in NSW meant that the minority Labor group, later known as the DLP, would not build a strong national presence, despite its strength in Victoria and Queensland. Calwell’s life membership of the Catholic Club, still located in the Sydney CBD, may at times have played an important part in giving him a continuing sense of connection with majority Catholic opinion. According to Patrick O’Farrell, ‘the Catholic Club, founded in 1905, was, by the 1930s, a favoured gathering place for Catholic labour movement members, but it was a centre of social not intellectual activity’ (O’Farrell, 1977: p 380).

Show Statement of values
Hide Statement of values

Statement of values

This badge 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 badge is significant as evidence of Calwell’s close connections with the Roman Catholic community outside his home state of Victoria.

Reference:

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

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

O?Farrell, Patrick, The Catholic Church and Community in Australia: A History, Melbourne: Thomas Nelson, 1977.

  • New South Wales Catholic Club Badge that belonged to Arthur Calwell - backNew South Wales Catholic Club Badge that belonged to Arthur Calwell - back —
  • New South Wales Catholic Club Badge that belonged to Arthur Calwell - frontNew South Wales Catholic Club Badge that belonged to Arthur Calwell - front —

Details

Width 22mm
Height 36mm
Depth 6mm
Medium Metal
Creator’s name Unknown
Date created Unknown