Swagman Pottery Pieces

– I somehow broke off the foot when collecting the figurine,  so upset and frantic I shopped online and finally purchased a replica from a woman called Shelia in country NSW, she express posted it to me.  When I confessed this to Kate, she told me the foot had always been broken off and she liked the figurine so much she didn’t mind. We decided to exhibit both- Amy.

Kate Robertson

Swagman Pottery Pieces

My Swagman Pottery pieces were made in Australia during the 1980’s. A Croatian couple who migrated to Australia in the early 1970’s started and operated the pottery business, which has since closed down.  On first glimpse, these pottery pieces kind of look tacky (smiling koalas on balconies, cuddly possums) but they do say a lot when you look at them longer.


They are a record of a couple’s migration and settlement to Australia, and doing what was necessary to make some money and integrate into a new society. They display tourism’s ongoing fixation (and our demand) for objects that display an optimistic record of one’s travels and explorations. They are also a record of contemporary society’s increasing obsession with the humanisation of animals. 


I have more Swagman Pottery pieces in my collection wrapped safely in newspaper and stored away in boxes, because I believe these pottery objects are modern day artefacts rather than just another crappy souvenir item.


8 thoughts on “Swagman Pottery Pieces

  1. I bought a couple of pieces of Swagman Pottery whilst in Australia
    on holiday a couple of years ago. I was lucky enough to go back again the
    following year and I bought some more. Including an old man, with a bottle in one hand and a fishing rod in the other with a fish on the line. He sits on the edge of your shelf. I bought it because it was different from all the pots and other things. Unfortunately this poor little man has fallen off my shelf so many times. His hat, foot, leg and the fish have all had to be repaired, some more than once. I still love
    him and so long as I can find all the pieces I will continue to put him bacl together
    again. LOVE HIM !!


  2. I would love to see photos of your Swagman pottery piece, he sounds like he has been on one major adventure – across the world – and from your shelf to the floor many times over. If you get the chance, email Amy the curator of the show at amymarjoram(at)gmail.com with your photos.

    Thanks for your appreciation, Swagman Pottery lovers unite!


  3. I have a couple of hundred peices of swagman pottery plus a catalogue. I will continue to save swagman untill I can get all the peices. I really love this pottery.

    • I too have heaps of Swagan Pottery pieces.
      I would be happy to pay for a copy of the catalogue. I would love to see the many different pieces they made.
      Here’s hoping!

      [EMAIL: Amy the organiser of Mod Off if you have a Swagman Catalogue and I will forward your details to June]

  4. Dear Sharyn and Kate,

    I am Antonia Maric ,designer of Swagman Pottery ,I came across your website and I am very touched and delighted that people still love and collect our pottery,Rafael and I fondly remember great times that we had with with pottery and we have had many good years making it ,and many people had bought it and loved it.We started it in mid 80’s and went on for almost 20 years ,sadly we had to give it up as gift ware styles had changed in later years.
    And yes I made animals to look little naive and happy, intentionally ,not unlike children’s story books.
    Rafael and I make sterling silver jewellery now please check out our website, just launched
    if you like that is.
    http://www.antoniarafael.com.au and for australiana products we have http://www.ozpewter.com.au

    Thanks and Regards
    Antonia & Rafael

  5. Accidentally found this discussion and am intrigued to read other people’s stories of their love for Swagman Pottery. Seems I am not alone after all !! Thrilled to see Antonia Rafael has found this page too. Such a talent !!!!!!

    I would very much like to know more about the ‘catalogue’ Sharyn Torney mentioned before and if or where or how I could obtain a copy….. I’d like to know just how many designs were made so I know how many more I need to find to get a complete set. Maybe that’s a pipe-dream. LOL.

    Currently I have just 26 pieces, hmmm but it seems one of ’em could be a “ring-in”?? – it looks like “Swagman”, the style is similar, the colour is similar, but the impressed backstamp is different – being marked as GENUINE POTTERY MADE IN AUSTRALIA in one stamp on the piece with another below of JOLLY SWAGMAN SOUVENIRS together with the ‘C in a circle’ copyright symbol.

    Hubby has finally shown an interest in “my stuff” and now LOVES Swagman – I think because it is so different and maybe yeah a bit on the quirky side. We live on acreage and can relate very well indeed to the Australian symbolism.

  6. YIKES ~~ * note to self to calm down ((breathe in breathe out)) & proof read before posting * ~~ I got all excited seeing the name of the previous post….. should have been Antonia Maric.

    Sorry. – fingers were in motion before brain was in gear !! LOL.

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