This tin was produced by the Phoenix Biscuit Company of Grosvenor St, Abbotsford, in 1935 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of European settlement in Melbourne. On the front is an image of the ghost of John Batman gazing upon a contemporary Melbourne skyline, which was used with permission of the Centenary Celebration Council.

In 1934, as Melbourne planned to celebrate the centenary of European settlement, it seemed to some that there was little to celebrate. The financial strains of the depression, unemployment and the scandal of the city's slums all undercut claims of unbridled progress. Perhaps because of such troubles, the organisers of the centenary celebrations tried doubly hard to be positive. The themes of the celebrations were conservative, reflecting the desire of some Melburnians for security in troubled times. The widely promoted image of the 'Garden City' and 'Queen City of the South' emphasised the idea of Melbourne as a very British city. A visit by the Duke of Gloucester, son of George V, the ageing king, provided a reassuring strengthening of Melbourne's imperial connections.

The presented view of Melbourne's history stressed the 'myth of the pioneer', embodied in the person of John Batman, as featured on both official and commercial items such as this tin. Elevated to heroic status, he was reinvented as a courageous pioneer whose life exemplified the rewards of self-improvement. Such a portrayal ignored Batman's dubious 'treaty' with local Aborigines and the less savoury details of his personal life. Melbourne's indigenous people were excluded from this triumphant view of Melbourne's past.

Physical Description

A rectangular metal tin, with curved edges and a hinged metal lid. The top of the tin is decorated with the image of a male ghostly figure resting his hands on a rifle, whilst looking over 1930s Melbourne and the Yarra River. tin is printed in tones of blue/green.

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