Certificate presented to Melbourne International Exhibition Commissioner Robert Knaggs, Esq., J.P., M.R.C.S., E., at the conclusion of the Exhibition in April 1881.

Robert Knaggs was an Edinburgh trained surgeon with rooms in West Melbourne. He migrated to Victoria from Mountrath in Ireland with his adult family in 1852. As a well-connected professional with political connections, Knaggs typified the type of gentleman appointed by the Colonial Government to the Melbourne International Commission. The Commission was responsible for all aspects of the Exhibition's organisation and management: construction of the building, landscaping of the gardens, exhibition finances, international and intercolonial negotiations, ceremonies, and areas of manufacture. The executive committee established a number of committees to oversee these. While many Commissioners served on a number of committees, it appears that Robert Knaggs only served on one: Committee 13, 'Vegetable Products'.

All commissioners and staff were presented with a medal for service to the Exhibition and a corresponding certificate. Members of the executive committee were awarded gold medals, other Commissioners silver medals, and all staff bronze medals.

Physical Description

Certificate adhered to backing card printed in black and pale blue (very faded). Composition is surrounded by a decorative border of scrolls, national coat of arms and classical motifs, surmounted by a larger, centrally positioned Victorian coat of arms flanked by winged figures.The text is framed by four female classical figures, two representing wool and gold, with a group of attendant cherubs enacting artistic and industrial tasks at each figure's feet. A red wax seal is centred between the figures. Certificate has visible insect damage, tears and delamination around the border, and is heavily faded.

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