Mace

Investigate the Mace—a symbol of the House of the Representatives—with this fact sheet. It includes information about the function, design and history of the Mace.

Function

The Mace is the symbol of the authority of the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

At the start of each sitting day in the House, the Mace is carried into the chamber by the Serjeant-at-Arms and placed on the central table. The crown of the Mace always points to the government team and the Australian Coat of Arms faces up. The Mace sits on the central table as long as the House is officially meeting and the Speaker or a deputy is present.

When not in use, the Mace is kept in a glass cabinet in the Speaker's office.

Design

The Mace was made in London and designed to resemble the Mace used in the House of Commons in the British Parliament. It is made of silver, coated in gold, and weighs about 8 kilograms. The head bears a royal crown, the Australian Coat of Arms, the royal cipher— a monogram with the Queen's initials—and emblems of the 6 Australian states. The crown is decorated with etchings of fruit, rams' heads and wheat, which symbolise the importance of Australia's sheep and agricultural industries.

History

In medieval times, the royal Serjeants-at-Arms carried a mace stamped with the Royal Arms. This was a weapon used to assert the authority of the monarch. By 1415, the House of Commons had appointed its own Serjeant-at-Arms to serve the members of the House. The tradition of the Mace in the House of Representatives is taken from this practice in the House of Commons.

The Mace used in the House of Representatives was a gift to the Australian Parliament by the House of Commons and King George VI in 1951. The gift marked the Jubilee year—50th anniversary—of Australia's federation.

The Mace in the House of Representatives.

The Mace positioned on brackets on the central table in the green House of Representatives. There are books on the table.

DPS Auspic

Description

This image shows the gold coated Mace in the House of Representatives chamber. The Mace is positioned on brackets at the end of a large table in the middle of the room.

Detail of the Mace.

A detailed view of the gold Mace clearly showing the crown with its emblems and etchings. The Mace is standing upright.

DPS Auspic

Description

This image is a close up view of the Mace used in the House of Represntatives. It shows the head of the Mace with the royal crown and Australia's Coat of Arms clearly visible.