The University's mace was carried in procession for the first time during the Graduation ceremonies in May 1996. The mace was presented to the University by former Chief Commissioner of the Ballarat City Council, Vern Robson, at a ceremony on 02 February, following a national competition for its design, sponsored by the Council. (The Flag, Issue 2, July 1996) Nineteen artists responded to the competition which called for a design that would embody a distinctive Australian image reflecting the heritage of the city and in relationship with gold, an Aboriginal element and the history of the University. The winning entry, dominated by a poppet head, was submitted by Central Victorian artist/sculptor Trefor Prest, a sessional lecturer in sculpture at the University.(The Flag, Issue 2, July 1996) The Herald Sun of 03 February 1996 reported 'the new mace shows importance elements of Ballarat's heritage as well as the university's focus on the future. The artist emphasises the egalitarian nature of Australia as embodied in Ballarat's famous slice of history - the Eureka uprising. ... The mace has a poppet head at the top of the shaft - an unusual element for a mace - but it represents Ballarat's mining history and the University's evolution from the Ballarat School of Mines. An opening egg at the top stands for the nurturing of development and learning. The mace's straight shaft is depicted as the tree of knowledge and, incorporating a bark canoe scar, Ballarat's Aboriginal heritage. At the end of the shaft is a surveying device, which represents precision and accuracy ads embodied in the university's academic pursuits.' Bob Morrell of the University organised the national competition to design the mace and said 'It is in keeping with the university's logo, 'proudly flying the flag', which incorporates the Southern Cross.' Trefor Prest lectured in Sculpture at the University of Ballarat from 1995-1996.
Black and white photograph showing three men holding the new University of Ballarat (now Federation University) mace. From left to right they are Vern Robson (Chief Executive Officer City of Ballarat), Trefor Prest (Sculptor) and Professor David James (Vice Chancellor).