Summary

Australia Victoria Melbourne
Melbourne 1854 Exhibition Prize Medal 1854 (AD)
Mint: Royal Mint London
Awarded to: H. Laing.
Other Details: A bronze prize medal (64 mm diameter) awarded to H. Laing from Bendigo for manufactured metals by the Melbourne 1854 Exhibition. It features a view by J.S. Wyon, whose name appears at the top right of the exergue, of the specially built exhibition building as it would have been seen from the Flagstaff Gardens together with an allegorical scene of a miner presenting a large gold nugget, a shepherd presenting a sheep and a farmer bearing a wheat sheaf to Britannia seated facing right and holding a trident in right hand and resting arm on a shield decorated with the Union Jack. The scene is framed by a tree and the Southern Cross is in the sky above Britannia. Entries from Bendigo were alloted a seperate class, VIII and all given 373 as their entry number for Melbourne. They were winners of a preliminary exhibition to select material for Melbourne, which in turn was to select entries for the 1855 Paris Exhibition. This medal was awarded for an entry of the Gold Cross he won at the Sandhurst Exhibition for the best machine or model exhibited (from 1854 catalogue p.36). The Exhibition opened on 17 December 1854 and ran for 30 days. Around 40,000 people attended - half of Melbourne's population. The exhibition building, at the site of the later Royal Mint in William Street, was based on the design of the Crystal Palace in London, which had hosted the Great Exhibition only three years earlier, in 1851. Melbourne's exhibition building had 200 ornamental windows and was lit by 306 gaslights. The exhibition included a modest 428 exhibits, mainly local industrial and agricultural products.

Physical Description

A bronze prize medal (64 mm diameter) awarded to H. Laing from Bendigo by the Melbourne 1854 Exhibition. It features a view by J.S. Wyon, whose name appears at the top right of the exergue, of the specially built exhibition building as it would have been seen from the Flagstaff Gardens together with an allegorical scene of a miner presenting a large gold nugget, a shepherd presenting a sheep and a farmer bearing a wheat sheaf to Britannia seated facing right and holding a trident in right hand and resting arm on a shield decorated with the Union Jack. The scene is framed by a tree and the Southern Cross is in the sky above Britannia.

Obverse Description

At centre, a view of the specially built exhibition building by J.S. Wyon, whose name appears at the top right of the exergue, as it would have been seen from the Flagstaff Gardens; above, MELBOURNE EXHIBITION; in exergue: VICTORIA / 1854 and in small letters, J.S.WYON SC.

Reverse Description

Scene of a miner presenting a large gold nugget, a shepherd presenting a sheep and a farmer bearing a wheat sheaf to Britannia seated facing right and holding a trident in right hand and resting arm on a shield decorated with the Union Jack. The scene is framed by a tree and the Southern Cross is in the sky above Britannia.

Edge Description

PRIZE MEDAL * 373 * H. LAING (BENDIGO) * MANUFACTURED METALS *

Significance

The Exhibition opened on 17 December 1854 and ran for 30 days. Around 40,000 people attended - half of Melbourne's population. The exhibition building, the site of the later Royal Mint in William Street, was based on the design of the Crystal Palace in London, which had hosted the Great Exhibition only three years earlier, in 1851. Melbourne's exhibition building had 200 ornamental windows and was lit by 306 gaslights. The exhibition included a modest 428 exhibits, mainly local industrial and agricultural products. Some of these exhibits went to Paris for the 1855 Exhibition.-Official Catalogue of the Melbourne Exhibition, 1854, in Connection with the Paris Exhibition, 1855. -D. Tout-Smith 18/12/2003.

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