Historical information

This certificate is an invitation to the opening of the first Parliament of Australia on January 1st 1901 in Melbourne. On this date the six Australian self-governing colonies were federated to become the six states of Australia. The designers of the certificate were Norman Lindsay and John Longstaff. This particular invitation was sent to George Rolfe and his wife and two of his stepdaughters, Annie and Florence. George Rolfe (1836-1919), a tea merchant from Melbourne, began buying blocks of land near the mouth of the Hopkins River in Warrnambool in the 1870s. By the early 1880s Rolfe owned 50 acres in the town, including farming properties and used the buildings near the mouth of the Hopkins as holiday accommodation. He called his property Lyndoch which he improved with the addition of stables, chaff and bone sheds, jetty, boathouse, reservoir, water well and windmill and extensive gardens and he spent most of his later life in this Warrnambool area. Lyndoch today is the site of an aged care facility.


This certificate is of considerable importance for two reasons:
1. It is an important memento of a signal event in Australia’s history - the Federation of the States in 1901.
2. The certificate was an invitation to the family of a prominent Warrnambool person – George Rolfe of Lyndoch.

Physical description

This is a piece of thick paper with illustrations and decorations in brown, red, blue, yellow and green tonings. The lettering is in white with coloured capital letters. The images include the shields of the six Australian States, the Coat of Arms of Britain and Australia, outlines of two trees (gum tree and oak tree) and three symbolic female figures representing Justice, Britannia and Australia. The top border decoration represents the waratah flower. The names of the invitees on this certificate have been handwritten in black ink.

Inscriptions & markings

‘Opening of the Parliament of the Commonwealth by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall and York’
‘Mr G and Mrs Rolfe and the Misses Rolfe (2)’