Historic souvenir ware from the Tweed.
Historic souvenir ware from the Tweed.

Museum's shout out for historic local souvenirs

DO YOU have any pieces of historic souvenir ware gathering dust on your sideboard or mantle?

If your answer is yes, the Tweed Regional Museum is looking for your help to supplement a new major exhibition of local souvenir ware.

Tweed Regional Museum recently acquired a wonderful collection of historic souvenir ware from collector Allen Callaghan.

Raised in Coolangatta/Tweed Heads, Mr Callaghan has collected souvenir ware since the 1970s. The first item he acquired was a 'Coolangatta' cup and saucer from a second-hand shop in Adelaide.

The collection recently donated by Mr Callaghan is unique and includes pieces that date from as early as the 1910s.

It is a rare regional collection and is valued for the stories individual pieces tell, as well as the economic and social history these items collectively reveal about our community.

From the early 20th century, souvenir ware gained popularity throughout the British Empire, including in Australia.

Across these decades the rising demand for souvenir ware coincided with the growth of tourism. Souvenirs were purchased by tourists as a token, or memory, of their travels.

The appeal of these items led to a flourishing of the souvenir industry between about 1900 and the 1960s.

Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads were among the many regional towns that featured on souvenir ware in the 20th century. Local souvenirs were sold in places such as newsagents, jewellers and hardware stores.

Tweed Regional Museum acting director Kate Gahan said: "We're interested in hearing from anyone in the community who has souvenir items they would like to donate or loan for future display.

"Whether items are the typical souvenir teacup, spoon or ashtray, or are much more unusual pieces, we would be delighted to hear more about them.

"We're seeking items from all eras, including recent decades - the '70s, '80s and '90s - and from all towns and villages across the shire."


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