Alternative Names: Salver; Waiter

Sterling silver tray, produced by Boardman Glossop and Company, Sheffield, 1913. It was presented to Dame Nellie Melba at the Melbourne Town Hall on the 9th December, 1921, in recognition of her services and support of the city's inaugural Music Week in Melbourne, 5-13 November 1921. According to press reports, the aims of the event were to `popularise music and to impress upon the public its stimulating and exhilarating effect.' The organising committee's motto was `Music for everybody, and everybody for music'.

Melba had been involved throughout the festival, including presiding at the official opening at the Town Hall, where 3000 performing sang together in a mass choir. When receiving the tray, Melba spoke of her hope that Music Week would become a permanent fixture in the city's calendar, and that children would take a fuller part in the festivities. She promised she'd come back and give them all a (morning) tea if they participated.

Physical Description

Small sterling silver tray in square form with canted corners, reeded rim and inscribed at top centre with words and logo.


Dame Nellie Melba is one of Australia's most famous cultural icons and exports. Her operatic achievements were acknowledged both nationally and internationally and her World War I fundraising efforts earned her Dame Commander of the British Empire. Born Helen Porter Mitchell in Melbourne in 1861, Melba would maintain a constant affection and connection to her homeland and in particular Melbourne and the Yarra Valley where she would establish her Australian home, Coombe Cottage, from 1909. Melba was also a tireless fundraiser, both during World War I, but also for numerous local causes, from hospitals to conservatoriums.

This collection represents Melba as citizen, resident, fundraiser and community participant. They bring together direct connections to Melba with rich stories significant to Melba's broader narrative and to the Museum's collecting areas - such as her World War I fundraising activities, her deeply personal connection to her father David Mitchell, builder of the 1880 Exhibition Building, her attachment to homeland, and her involvement in many local cultural and social activities.

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