The "Federation Windows" are a particular feature of the Ballroom. The alcove, dais, and the stained and painted glass windows at the north end of the room were installed by Governor Tennyson on the occasion of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York in 1901 following the opening of the first Australian Parliament in Melbourne. The windows were designed and made by the Adelaide firm of E.F. Troy.
The following is a key to the window designs:
- Lord Tennyson's Coat of Arms: Lord Tennyson (the son of the Poet Laureate) was Governor of South Australia from 1899 to 1902, and later became Governor General of Australia.
- "T" stands for Tennyson (Poet Laureate - note laurel wreath).
- An early South Australian emblem.
- 1836 is the date of the foundation of the Colony of SA.
- The Royal Coat of Arms (motto DIEU ET MON DROIT - God and my right - signifying the Monarch’s right to rule).
- "E" stands for King Edward VII; "A" for Queen Alexandra.
- Coat of Arms of the Duke of York.
- "G" stands for George, Duke of York; "V" for Victoria Mary, Duchess of York (who later became known as King George V and Queen Mary).
- Coat of Arms of the City of Adelaide
(The Latin motto UT PROSINT OMNIBUS CONJUNCTI - United for the common good).
- 1849 is the year when the Commissioners of the City of Adelaide first met.
- Her Majesty the Queen’s Coat of Arms (motto DIEU ET MON DROIT - see note 5 above.
- Medallion commemorating the Queen’s visit in 1954.
In contrast to these formal heraldic designs, each of the sixteen small arched windows along the top depicts an Australian bird, beautifully hand-painted. These reveal a sense of pride in Australiana, symptomatic of an emerging sense of national consciousness.
Centenary of Federation Window
In 2001, Sir Eric Neal, AC, CVO and Lady Neal initiated the commissioning of a Centenary of Federation stained glass window to grace the landing of the main stairwell. This was executed by South Australian glass artist Ms. Jan Aspinall.
The Centenary of Federation window provides an opportunity to reflect the shifts in sentiment and aspirations which have ensued over the last hundred years since Federation.
The new window contains images referring to the countryside and the main cultural and economic drivers behind the success of our state: mining, agriculture, manufacturing, aquaculture, viticulture and the wine industry. The arts are depicted through images of the Festival Centre, musical notes and a Hans Heysen painting of sheep grazing. A map of Metropolitan Adelaide is depicted, along with a scene of Glenelg (the site of the first settlers' landing) and a map of the Barossa Valley; the War Memorials relating to the Boer War (at the time of Federation) and First and Second World Wars are depicted. The vertical "posts" show an intertwining of native eucalyptus leaves with exotic foliage, including grape vines and the Adelaide rose. In the left lower corner an Aboriginal elder is depicted exchanging desert sand with a white person to symbolise the changes reflected in Aboriginal Lands Rights legislation.