Melbourne & Victorian Centenary, 1934 (AD)
Other Details: This is the official Melbourne and Victorian Centenary medal. It was struck in silver and bronze to help fund the events surrounding the Centenary celebrations (this example is bronze). The designer was the noted artist Rayner Hoff, but the features of a sheep's skull and high voltage power lines proved unpopular. The dies used to strike the medal were defaced and placed in Museum Victoria's collection to ensure that no extra medals could be struck. The original dies are held by the Museum.
The artist, Rayner Hoff, made only seven medals in Australia between the time of his arrival from England in 1923 and his death in 1937. He is best remembered for this controversial medal to commemorate Melbourne's centenary, symbolising the wool industry with the skull of a sheep. Victorian Premier Stanley Argyle was furious with the design, saying 'I have no time for it. I would not have it on my mind. In fact, I seriously wonder whether it is not a big leg-pull on Victoria, as the artist is a New South Welshman'.
The obverse illustrates a tower or pylon of the State Electricity Commission's transmission line from Yallourn to Yarraville. The 112-mile (180 kilometre) long, 50 MW capacity, 132-kilovolt transmission line came into service on Sunday 14 June 1924, transmitting power from the first turbo-alternator unit installed at the SECV's Yallourn Power Station in the Latrobe Valley to the terminal station and switching yard at Yarraville, which distributed the power to the Melbourne metropolitan area. When built, it was both the longest and highest voltage transmission line in Australia, with the distinctive form of its 15-24 metre high galvanised steel towers becoming a familiar symbol of Victoria's industrialisation during the inter-war decades. The Yallourn transmission line was duplicated in 1930, with a second line of towers built and a new terminal station installed at Richmond.
State Electricity Commission high voltage electricity transmission line pylon with cables, VICTORIA MCMXXXIV; around below, CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
At centre sheep's skull, behind, wheat stalk, VICTORIA MDCCCXXXIV; around below, MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 15/3/1976
State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV), Latrobe Valley, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, circa 1930s
Obverse depicts a pylon of the Yallourn-Yarraville high-voltage power transmission line that was completed in 1924 and played a key role in supplying power to Melbourne's industry over the following decades.
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