Magnificent Panorama on a Plate

Souvenir, Walmsley Lookout, 1930s

The practice of collecting souvenir plates was popularised in the 19th century by Patrick Palmer-Thomas. He was a Dutch-English nobleman whose plates featured transfer designs commemorating picturesque locales or special events. As more people travelled and tourism hot spots developed so did the range of souvenirs.

The area now known as Dorrigo lies on the traditional land of the Gumbaynggirr people. Timber cutters entered the Bellinger River valley from 1841 searching for red cedar, and permanent European settlement followed from the 1860s. It is however Dorrigo’s unrivalled natural environment and scenic beauty that sets it apart from any other place on the Mid North Coast and beyond.

An article by Miss Violet Roche published in 1930 describes Dorrigo’s majestic splendour

“… Amid the rich scenic loveliness of the North Coast, Dorrigo is preeminent for the magnificence of its mountain, valley and forest beauty. Enchantment captures the visitor… Of the lookout points on the plateau, Walmsley’s Lookout and Major’s Lookout are outstanding…”

This petal-shaped souvenir plate with fluted gold edging features a colour transfer picture of a landscape scene viewed from Walmsley Lookout showing mountains in the distance and trees and green foliage in the foreground.


Who popularised the making and collecting of painted plates as souvenirs?

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