Summary

Gilt medal issued to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York to Australia in 1901. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York arrived in May 1901 to open the first Commonwealth Parliament. Their tour was one of the most lavish undertaken by the monarchy.

Obverse Description

3/4 bust of Edward VII crown above, around within wreath, EDWARD VII R.I. . FEAR GOD HONOR THE KING

Reverse Description

Busts of Duke and Duchess; above, T.R.H. THE DUKE & DUCHESS OF / CORNWALL / & YORK 1901 / WELCOME / TO AUSTRALIA Southern Cross constalation between Duke and Dutchess

Edge Description

Plain

Significance

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visited in May 1901 to open the first Commonwealth Parliament. Their tour was one of the most lavish undertaken by the monarchy. An Orient steamship liner had to be chartered for the voyage as no royal yacht could span the required distances between coaling ports. The Daily Telegraph’s ‘London correspondent’ reported that the 'The tour of the Duke and Duchess of York is likely to cost the British ratepayer a cool quarter of a million...'

Arriving on their liner on 6 May, the Duke and the Duchess were greeted with enthusiasm by the people of Melbourne. They attended a full programme of receptions, dinners and events. Public holidays allowed people to glimpse the royal couple. Australia's connection to the British Empire was clearly evident.

The Argus reported a typical event at Government House the day after their arrival, when the Duke 'received all citizens who were anxious to evidence their loyalty in that manner. The gathering was the most important ever witnessed in the colony. About 4,000 gentlemen attended, and paid their respects to the Heir Apparent with due decorum, and yet with celerity. The Duke shook hands with each and by pleasant tact and savoire faire placed all at their ease.' (Argus Melbourne, 8 May 1901, p. 6). The Duke and Duchess were kept busy with a program ranging from dinner and a University Commencement to the presentation of prizes to public schools. They also managed to visit briefly country Victoria. Nevertheless, during their 10-day visit they still managed to fit in a day's shooting.

The tour also included visits to other states, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. -State Library of Victoria web site http://www.statelibrary.vic.gov.au/slv/refresources/federation/royal.html. -D. Tout-Smith 29/9/2003.

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