Symbols and emblems: Parliamentary maces

Designing a parliamentary mace

Resources you'll need for this lesson:

Access to the internet; cardboard rolls (paper towel roll; clingwrap / alfoil rolls etc); cardboard; plastic yoghurt tubs of assorted sizes; pipe cleaners; coloured paper; textas; scissors; aluminum foil; assorted stickers; paint.

Lesson body

Students will research each of the following questions to investigate the mace as a symbol of a parliament:

  1. What is a parliamentary mace?
  2. Why is a mace important?
  3. When is a mace used in parliamentary proceedings?
  4. Who is the custodian of the mace?
  5. How would you make your mace a unique representation of yourself or your class parliament?

What is a parliamentary mace?

Students will conduct an internet search of maces around the world. Examples could include: Legislative Assembly for the ACT; Australian Parliament-House of Representatives; Australian state and territory parliaments (NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory); Parliament of South Africa; Parliament of Sri Lanka; Parliament of Ghana; Parliament of Singapore; Ontario’s Legislative Assembly; House of Commons U.K.; Nigerian senate; U.S. House of Representatives.

Ask students to list the specific characteristics of each parliament’s mace. Look closely at the materials used to make each parliament’s mace, the design of the mace and any symbols that make the mace unique.

Why is a mace important?

Ask students to identify what makes a mace important to the parliament it represents.

When is the mace used in the Legislative Assembly for the ACT?

Students can use the Legislative Assembly website links (below) to identify the tradition and importance of the mace and when it is used in the proceedings of the parliament.

Watch the mace being carried into the Legislative Assembly for the ACT at the commencement of a sitting day. Watch the start of a sitting procession.

Who is the custodian of the mace?

Students can investigate and identify the individuals in parliament who are associated with the mace by using the Legislative Assembly website links.

Identify the role of the Speaker and the Clerk in the Legislative Assembly.

Use the Parliamentary Roles video series to investigate the roles of the Speaker, Chief Minister, Ministers, Opposition, Party Whip and Clerk in the Legislative Assembly for the ACT

How would you make your own mace?

Students will design a mace for themselves or for a class parliament. If the mace is being created individually ask students to think about:

If the mace is being created for a class parliament then students can also think about:

Things for students to think about: specific symbols or stamps to include on the mace; materials they can use to create the mace (representatives of the material can be reflected in the choice of resources used e.g. paper towel rolls for wood, foil for steel and/or silver); the design of the mace (shape, weight).

Watch a tutorial on making your own Legislative Assembly mace [1 minute 45 seconds].


Explore other symbols and emblems of the ACT including the flag, coat of arms and the floral, faunal and mammal emblems.

Lesson reflection

Students can individually present their mace to the class and discuss their individual design choices or present as a group their class parliament mace and describe how their design reflects their class or school environment, values and/or beliefs.

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