Written by Sara Jervis, Swinburne History and Artefacts.
The beginning of the spoons
The suggestion that a souvenir spoon with the College Badge incorporated in the handle could be presented to 'our voluntary canteen workers' in recognition of their services was first proposed at a department heads' meeting in November 1960 by Mr Iversen, the Headmaster of the Boys' School. He also suggested that a set of six spoons might be a suitable gift to the Diploma Assembly guest speakers.
From this quiet beginning 50 years ago, the tradition of the Swinburne spoons began. The item, 'Souvenir Spoons' stayed on the agenda for the departmental heads' meetings for two years! Mr Alan Jordan, the Head of the Art School, was in charge of the design for the spoon and the presentation box. After one year he ordered 300 individual spoons at 8/- each and 50 presentation boxes of 6, covered in the same material used for the diploma cases.
The spoons policy
By December 1962 the policy and the tradition were formally established:
- Staff with more than five years of service will be presented with a box of six 'Swinburne' tea spoons
- Staff with less than five years of service will receive one spoon for each year at the College
- Each guest speaker is to be presented with a box of 'Swinburne' tea spoons
(Meeting minutes, Heads of Departments, 05 December 1962)
First spoon presentation
The first recorded spoon presentation to a staff member was noted at the department heads' meeting in March 1962. The Director, Mr Tylee, wrote to the retiring staff member, Mr Brendan Edwards, thanking him for his services and enclosing a Swinburne teaspoon. Mr Edwards had been the Physical Education Instructor in the Boys' School.
Significant spoon presentation ceremonies
Dr Roy Longworth, the Swinburne Director, presents Swinburne spoons to Laurie Pendlebury, retiring head of the Swinburne Art School, in May 1974.
Dr Iain Wallace, Swinburne Principal Director (left), officiates at his first 'order of the spoons' ceremony during Lew Jenkins' farewell in July 1986. Lew retired after 27 years at Swinburne, 20 of them in a senior management role.