An important and rare collection of historic swords, pistols and medals belonging to Australia’s first general Maurice O’Connell has been acquired by the Memorial Trustees with support from the NSW Government. The collection will be on public display in the completed Anzac Memorial which will serve to enhance its status as a place of solemn reflection, learning and remembrance.
The collection of artefacts span the duration of Sir O’Connell’s distinguished career. One of the swords was awarded to O’Connell by the international maritime insurer, Lloyd’s of London, in 1805. He wore this sword when he led the 73rd Regiment into Sydney Cove to take over from the mutinous NSW Corps. The other is the very first Australian General Officer’s Sword. The medals include O’Connell’s knighthood neck decoration and breast badge.
"The O’Connell collection is of the greatest significance to NSW and Australia’s colonial history highlighting our strong military heritage," said David Elliott, the Minister for Veterans Affairs. "And with few objects surviving from the earliest decades of European settlement in Australia, each of them must be considered a national treasure.
The Anzac Memorial is a highly appropriate venue for the exhibition of the O’Connell collection. O’Connell used Hyde Park as a venue to exercise and drill the 73rd Regiment. The acquisition will go on permanent display at the Anzac Memorial upon the completion of the Centenary Project build in late 2018.