Parliament House is currently

Collection Highlight: Freedom of the City of Bristol


Walker & Hall, Freedom of the City of Bristol presented to W.M. Hughes on 20 May 1916,
Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra ACT

On display in the Gifts Corner, first floor public area


In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, Australia Prime Minister William Morris “Billy” Hughes travelled to Europe to speak on behalf of Australia and to inspire new recruits to the war effort. 

Throughout Britain, he was enthusiastically received and was given the freedom of the cities of Aberdeen, London and Sheffield before arriving in Bristol on 20 May 2016.

The awarding of the Freedom of the City of Bristol was a rare honour, with only 35 instances recorded prior to Hughes receiving this magnificent casket which contained an illuminated certificate.


The casket, manufactured by the Bristol firm of Walker & Hall, is silver gilt and each corner is supported by a stylised dolphin. On the top is the Bristol coat of arms, and the front features the Australian coat of arms as well as views of Bristol landmarks including the Suspension Bridge and St Peter’s Hospital.

The inscription reads: "Presented to the Right Hon. William Morris Hughes KC by the Lord Mayor, Alderman and Burgesses of the City of Bristol on his admission as Honorary Freeman of the City, 20th May 1916".

This is one of thirteen Freedoms held in the Parliament House Art Collection. They are currently on display in the Gifts Corner on the first floor in the public area. Make sure to see them when you next visit.