Sydney Cove medallion, set in basalt plaque. Bert Bentley.
A very special edition of The Sydney Cove Medallion.
The original medallion was made using clay taken from around Botany Bay, to see whether the clay would make good pottery. A small number survives today, and are much sought-after by both pottery and coin collectors.
It was reissued numerous times in the years since; this is no doubt the rarest of the re-issues. Only three were made, each in a different colour, making this one unique. A fourth was later produced for The Sydney Opera House.
The medallion shows Hope visiting Peace, Art and Labour at The Sydney Cove. The basalt plaque into which it is set, which was created for this particular issue, quotes from a well-known poem of the time:
Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells,
And with wide arms the indignant storm repels;
High on a rock amid the troubled air
Hope stood sublime, and waved her golden hair;
Calmed with her rosy smile the tossing deep,
And with sweet accents charmed the winds to sleep;
To each wild plain she stretched her snowy hand,
High-waving wood, and sea-encircled strand.
'Hear me,' she cried, 'ye rising realms! record
Time's opening scenes, and Truth's prophetic word.
There shall broad streets their stately walls extend,
The circus widen, and the crescent bend;
There, rayed from cities o'er the cultured land,
Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand.
There the proud arch, colossus-like, bestride
Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide;
Embellished villas crown the landscape-scene,
Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between.
There shall tall spires, and dome-capped towers ascend,
And piers and quays their massy structures blend;
While with each breeze approaching vessels glide,
And northern treasures dance on every tide!'
Then ceased the nymph - tumultuous echoes roar,
And Joy's loud voice was heard from shore to shore -
Her graceful steps descending pressed the plain,
And Peace, and Art, and Labour, joined her train
- Erasmus Darwin
The Wedgwood Sydney Cove Medallion is a highly collectible piece, and is considered a significant artifact of Australian and Wedgwood history. It is a testament to the impact of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia, and the establishment of the first European settlement in the country, which was to become one of the British Empire's most important colonies.
Stock Number 4807