"Special" A surplus of badges, medals, armbands & buttons mass-produced for issue from Melbourne Town Hall in times of strife & celebration / by patrick rodriguez

"This exhibition takes its title from the cotton armbands worn by volunteer Special Constables (‘Specials’) during the 1923 Melbourne police strike. More than 300 unissued examples of the armband are held by the City of Melbourne, each boldly printed with the word SPECIAL and a unique number. A framed sequence of more than a hundred SPECIAL armbands forms the exhibition’s striking centrepiece.

Also on display are masses of commemorative medals distributed to schoolchildren in celebration of peace and Empire, badges intended for the city’s Air Raid Precautions (ARP) wardens during World War Two, and brass uniform buttons embossed with the City of Melbourne coat of arms.

All were issued in their hundreds and thousands from Melbourne Town Hall during outbreaks of strife and celebration. Those that remain are the surplus and are in Council’s collection. ‘SPECIAL.’ revels in their seeming abundance, while leaving room to wonder how they came to be left unclaimed."

 Curated by : Robyn Annear.

City Gallery / 14 May- 14 August 2015.