Ringing in Changes

The Demise of the Dinner Gong

It is quite easy to picture this brass dinner gong sitting proudly on a sideboard within a well-furnished dining room ready to call the guests to dinner. The gong was produced by Koninklijke Metaalwarenfabriek Daalderop (KMD) of Teil in Holland. The company was started in 1880 by J. N. Daalderop, became known as KMD in 1917, and exported its products around the world. Similar gongs were sold by Farmer’s in Sydney and The Kalizoic in Melbourne.

In its earlier life as the Criterion Hotel, the Woolpack Inn may have had such a gong as it was known for its ‘comfort and good living’ and when hosting Shire Council meetings a gong may have been essential to bring the meeting to order.

From the 1890s through to the 1930s, brass dinner gongs on stands were very popular as gifts and prizes. As wedding gifts they ‘may prove useful’ and were presented as gifts upon the retirement or relocation of local identities. Within the racing industry they were regularly presented as prizes with one presented to the Albury Racing Club to let the public know when a race was to begin.

Changing tastes in furnishings, especially away from large sideboards, led to dinner gongs slowly disappearing from lists of gifts and prizes. By the 1940s, brass dinner gongs were definitely out of fashion based on the number advertised in furniture and clearing sales for hotels and large properties. The clearing sales of ‘Woomagarma’ in 1946 and ‘Book Book‘ station in 1949 included brass dinner gongs on stands with one of the two gongs at the ‘Bethanga Park’ clearing sale realising £10.

Although many fashions and tastes in furnishings are revived it is hard to imagine the brass dinner gong returning in the near future as preferred wedding gift.