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The Australia Magna Carta Embroidery – commemorating the spread of law and order throughout the world

The Australia panel of the twelve panel Magna Carta embroidery is now completed. The latest delicately embroidered, highly detailed piece, tells the story of how the abiding principles of the Magna Carta influenced and remained the basis of common law in many countries, including Australia.

Australia is one of only two countries outside of the UK to own a copy of Magna Carta. Bought by the King’s School in Somerset in 1952 for £12500, it is now priceless and on permanent display in Parliament House, Canberra.

Rhoda Nevins, a member of the Royal School of Needlework was commissioned by Runnymede Borough Council to design and embroider the twelve panel piece to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.

The panels are an illustrative representation of significant people and events in both the charter towns and in the countries that have adopted the principles of Magna Carta throughout the world.

The Australia panel features important events in Australian history and how Britain came to Australia and how it left.

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The Australia Panel features:
  • The Australian and Aboriginal flags. The Aboriginal flag was designed as a symbol of unity and national identity for the land rights movement of the early 1970s.
  • Captain Cook – 1770 James Cook arrived on the HMS Endeavour and charted the eastern coast and claimed it as British Territory.
  • Throughout the embroidery, you can see the native animals of the continent, including Koalas, Wallabies, Kangaroos and Emus.
  • Shackled prisoners – in 1788, the first 736 prisoners were banished from England and transported to the “land down under”, where Australia became a penal colony until 1823.
  • Uluru/Ayers Rock – A UNESCO World Heritage site, this large sandstone rock formation is sacred to the sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area.
  • An Aborigine playing a didgeridoo. The indigenous population are thought to have been in Australia for up to 80,000 years before colonisation.
  • The Commonwealth Coat of Arms is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • The Parliament Building.
  • Rhoda has designed the panels to depict the important historical events that led up to the sealing of the Magna Carta in Charter Towns throughout the UK. Each Magna Carta Trust town has its panel including Runnymede, Bury St Edmunds, St Albans, the City of London, Canterbury and Hereford. Five other panels will depict how Magna Carta influenced the spread of law and order throughout the world from 1215 to the present day. Sections include The United States, Canada, Australia, India and South Africa. There is an additional panel comprising all the shields of the 25 barons who were present at the sealing.

    Photo Credit: Rhoda Nevins 2015

  • Leo Jones

    It was not an independent nation in 1901, it was a dominion of the UK. It became independent when it ratified the 1936 Statute of Westminster, which made the King of the UK also the King of Australia separately, subject to the constitution of Australia and not UK law.

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