Vase that belonged to Arthur Calwell #2010-0279
Tall slender metal green vase with Hebrew characters in black and gold.
This vase 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 vase was presented to Calwell during a dinner in St Kilda in 1960, at which the main speaker was Professor Zelman Cowen. The dinner was put on by the Melbourne Jewish community in honour of Calwell’s election as Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. Calwell’s support for Holocaust survivors languishing in Displaced Persons camps was such that he signed hundreds of blank visas and gave them to representatives of Jewish organisations. He also took the lead, in his concurrent post as Minister for Information (1943-49), in challenging anti-Semitism in Australia.