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Prime Ministers tea towel #2014-0352

Prime Ministers of Australia tea towel with black and white images of Prime Ministers and signed by Bob Hawke.


Former Senator Rosemary Crowley produced this tea towel for the Centenary of Federation in 2001 and sold it from her office. Approximately 1000 were sold.

Rosemary Crowley was the first female Labor Senator for South Australia when she was elected in 1983. She served until retirement in 2002 and was Minister for Family Services from 1993-96 and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women in 1993. Crowley has said of her tea towel: ‘Well I think a lot of life’s lessons are very well taught in the kitchen and indeed we can have the answer to most of the questions about prime ministers and anything we want to know about them hanging behind the kitchen door. It’s got its political references, it’s often said that if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Well I don’t mind at all that so much is learnt in the kitchen and there’s clear evidence that those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen can cope politically’ (Tuesday 31 October 2000 Senator Crowley in conversation with reporter Alexandra Kirk ABC ‘The World Today’).

Each of the Australian Prime Ministers from Barton to Howard is displayed on the tea towel in chronological order. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Kim Beazley, a Minister in the Hawke government, have both autographed the tea towel in black texta pen.

The tea towel forms part of a set of memorabilia produced for the Centenary of Federation including the Centenary School Medal, coasters, pins, t shirts and flags.

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Statement of values

This tea towel is historically significant as an expression of the interest in Australian political history and former prime ministers surrounding the Centenary of Federation in 2001. Additional social significance stems from the fact that the idea for such a tea towel came from a former Senator who designed and produced the tea towel, believing that the Centenary was important enough to warrant the undertaking.

  • Prime Ministers tea towelPrime Ministers tea towel —


Width 480mm
Height 735mm
Medium Cotton; ink; marker pen
Creator’s name Rosemary Crowley
Date created 2000