Helen Silver (right) and Wilma Kurvink, Ormond College’s Senior Librarian and Archivist (left) 

This elegant silver-plated tea-set began its life at Ormond College in 1953. It has travelled to Perth, then London, then back to Perth. It recently crossed the Nullarbor in a campervan to make its way back to the College.

The set was a gift from the Students’ Club and the College Council to the fifth Master of Ormond College, Stanley L Prescott, when he left Ormond after seven years to move to Western Australia. The tea set has been passed around the family, spending some happy years in London with Stanley’s granddaughter, before making its way back to Australia last year.

To the great delight of the College, the family has decided to donate the tea-set to the Ormond collection. Stanley’s daughter, Helen Silver, who lived at Ormond as a child and now lives in Perth, drove the tea-set over to Melbourne on a recent camping trip.

For Helen, the visit to the Ormond grounds brought back a lot of memories.

‘It was a great place to grow up. There’s a strip with trees between Royal Parade and the College. It’s really quite a narrow strip, but we thought it was a great big forest. We called it Sherwood Forest and my brothers built cubby houses there.’

Helen had lunch with Vice-Master Ari Metuamate, who lives with his family at Allen House (previously called The Master’s Lodge) and took a tour inside her childhood home. A number of children have grown up in that house, including Olivia Newton-John (whose father Brinley became Master after Stanley Prescott) and now Ari’s children.

Helen says life inside the Master’s Lodge was a lot of fun for her and her siblings.

‘There’s a big dining room over in the Master’s Lodge and it had a big dark wooden table. Mum and Dad would host afternoon teas – people visiting the College, lecturers and other Masters. On at least a couple of occasions, we kids sat under the table, hidden by the table cloths, while the guests were milling around in the dining room. We’d sneak out, grab some food, and duck back down under the table to have our own tea party.’

The art-deco tea-set and tray were designed, made and inscribed in Fitzroy by the firm K.G. Luke. This firm was a fashionable local maker of silverware, cutlery and even stainless-steel surgical equipment in the mid-20th Century.

‘My brother and I were especially impressed that the Students’ Club were a part of this gift to my father,’ Helen says. ‘The tea-set and tray are in good hands now, and it’s been lovely to be part of their return journey.’

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