Historical information

This trowel was used by Her Excellency Lady Stanley in the absence of her Husband the State Governor of Victoria due to illness , at a ceremony in 1916 to lay the foundation stones of both the main Mission to Seafarers building designed by architect Walter Butler .
A substantial photo story of the event appeared in a local newspaper.
The trowel was discovered to exist around the centenary of the building owned by the Moss family in Toronto Canada who returned it to the MTSV in mid 2019 via Professor Uma Kothari, of Manchester University, and the Ross family who met at the Chapel of Mission to Seafarers, London for the presentation.


This re-discovery and gift of this decorative arts object provides a link with the historic and ceremonial occasion of the laying of foundation stones for the first phase of the Mission to Seamen ( the chapel and main complex ) which opened in 1917 and has operated continuously at 717 Flinders Street. Significantly patron of the LHLG at the time, The State Governor's wife, Lady Stanley actually officiated and a record of this can be seen in contemporary press coverage in 1916.

Physical description

Ceremonial trowel : decorative carved ivory handle with silver diamond-shaped spade is decoratively engraved with floral and fernery designs above an engraved detailed inscription.

Inscriptions & markings

Upper surface of trowel engraved: THE VICTORIA SEAMEN's INSTITUTE /MELBOURNE / To commemorate the Laying /of the/ FOUNDATION STONE / OF THE NEW BUILDINGS /BY / HIS EXCELLENCY / The Hon Sir Arthur L Stanley / K.C.M.G. / GOVERNOR OF VICTORIA / Nov.14th 1916
underside surface of trowel engraved stamped with: hallmark and maker's mark ( semi obscured and worn).