Medallion, 'Australian Made Preference League', sterling silver / enamel, made by Angus & Coote, awarded to schoolboy John McInerney for essay about visit of the 'Great White Exhibition Train' to Wallendbeen NSW, Australia, 1926
Australia has always been economically dependent upon overseas imports. Whilst it makes sound economic sense for any country to keep its money circulating within its own market, Australia's developing role as a primary producer has made it all the more important. Contemporary symbols on produce denoting Australian ownership, and the need to 'Buy Australian' that are so common a feature of today have antecedents in movements such as the 'Great White' Train. One slogan for the league was:" Buy Australian Made / Australian Made means better trade / And leads the way to better pay / Then buy Australian Every day." The League attempted to show how important industry was for national stength, and producing jobs, as seen in this passage from the 'Great White Exhibition Train' souvenir booklet; "No country that is wholly devoted to primary production ever developed national strength or long remained uninvaded by a stronger power. Secondary industries made the British Empire what it is. They provide a vast range of skilled activities which bring into to play the highest cultural genius (p 25)".
Again in the souvenir booklet of the 'Great White Exhibition Train' is a passage explaining the princples of the 'Australian Made Preference League'; "First of all, let it be said that the League is based on a sane and practical patriotism - not the patriotism that hates or detracts other countries, but the patriotism that works for the good of its own. The League has come into existence, not to say things, but to do them. It holds that if all of us in Australia exercised a little practical patriotism in our daily purchases and gave a definite preference to 'Australian Made' goods, the inevitable result would be augmented industry and general prosperity." The book also mentions, "Upwards of 100,000 children received the League's message, and the interest they displayed in the Train itself, in the address of the lecturer, and in the essay competition run by the League, leaves no possible doubt as to the impression made on 'Young Australia' by the 'Great White" Train (p 121).
The medallion is made by Angus & Coote, Royal Arcade, George Steet, Sydney, 1926, as a prize given by the Australian-Made Preference League. At least one of the uses of the medallion was as a prize for the best essay written about the Exhibition Train and its message. The souvenir booklet mentions, "Upwards of 100,000 children received the League's message, and the interest they displayed in the Train itself, in the address of the lecturer, and in the essay competition run by the League, leaves no possible doubt as to the impression made on 'Young Australia' by the 'Great White" Train (p 121)." "School children passed through the Train, and were keen to compete for the prizes given for the best essay [a choice of book or medal] (p 118) . . . and in each town prizes are offered for the best essay on the Exhibition (p 51)."
Fifteen year old John McInerney was given a choice of either a book or engraved silver medallion for his prize. This is the medal he chose, and which was passed on through the family.
John McInerney was born 6 March 1911 and later became a postal assistant. He died at Katoomba, 10 March 1959. He married Esmerelda Ruth Frazer at Grenfell, NSW on 27 June 1936 and they had three children, Jill (born 16.8.1937), John (1.1.1940 - 24.3.1996), and June (born 13 May 1948). The medallion was passed on to son John, and then to the donor.