The Usher of the Black Rod

Dublin Core


The Usher of the Black Rod


Assembly, Black Rod, Commons, Constitution, Council, Knights of the Garter, Legislative Council, legislature, Lords, medieval institution, medieval office, messenger, New South Wales, Parliament, parliamentary officials, parliamentary sessions, parliamentary traditions, public duty, Queensland, salary, Sergeant-at-Arms, South Australia, Tasmania, tradition, Usher, “Usher of the Black Rod”, Victoria, Western Australia


In this article from the Western Mail, the use of the traditional medieval title “The Usher of the Black Rod” for the parliamentary official who acts as a messenger for the Lords in Commons is addressed. In deciding to adopt the full title Western Australia followed an example that had been set by Tasmania, Queensland and New South Wales. Victoria, in contrast, opted to shorten the title to “Usher”, while South Australia dispensed with it altogether and addressed the corresponding official by the title “Sergeant-at-Arms”. The continued use of the full title in four of the six Australian parliaments, the article suggests, “is an instance of that devotion to old institutions which even in these days of all manner of change is a very pronounced English characteristic”. The prestige accompanying the office of the Usher of the Black Rod dates from the attachment of the original Usher to the Knights of the Garter, the highest order of English sovereigns.




National Library of Australia


The Western Mail


3 January 1891, p.15


The Western Mail


Digitised Newspaper Article



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Newspaper Article