Have you seen the Griffith Mace?

The original Griffith University Ceremonial Mace.

The original Griffith University Ceremonial Mace.

No, we haven’t lost it! The Griffith University Ceremonial Mace is currently on display at the Nathan campus Library. Walk through the library front doors, look to your left, and you’ll see it laying majestically in a glass display cabinet.

It’s our original Griffith Mace. Fashioned in 1979, it was commissioned to be a symbol of prestige and authority for our university.

The Griffith Mace is made from timber (Queensland Beech tree) and is painted in the Griffith colours of the time – cornflower blue and red. The head of the Mace has five scholarly figures which are intended to represent things such as discovery, knowledge, enquiry and integrity.

As is the case with most ceremonial maces, it was intended to represent standing, prominence and distinction. Essentially, the Mace is a symbol of Griffith’s ‘authority and power’ as a university.

This rendering of the Griffith Mace was replaced in 2005 by a more contemporary design. Check out the photo on the Griffith Archive. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Maces have been around for centuries. Originally, the mace was a weapon but over time evolved into a ceremonial ornament used to represent governance, power and authority.

It was traditionally used by royalty (kings and queens) and ‘The Church’ as a symbol of their right to rule.

In time, universities also began to use maces. They mostly used them in a ceremonial capacity – adding the object to their coat of arms and having decorative maces made to symbolise their prestige and authority.

It is not known exactly when universities started using maces – but the University of St Andrews in Scotland has three ceremonial maces (kept on permanent display at the Museum of the University of St Andrews) that date back to the 15th century.