Medal awarded by Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales for Champion Prize Hock, to Hans W.H. Irvine in 1903.
Hans William Henry Irvine, born in Melbourne in 1856, was a successful vigneron and politician, and was known as the 'wine king of Australia'. His largest holding was the Great Western winery, which he owned from 1888-1918. In the early 1890s Irvine purchased two-thirds of the produce of local vignerons, much of which was distilled into his brandy. He also became known for his claret, hock, chablis, burgundy, hermitage, sparkling hock and sparking burgandy. He was an effective self-promoter, and in 1982 entertained the Victorian governor in lavish style. He also pioneered wine advertising. Irvine was particularly interested in the science of wine-making, and used the latest technologies in his cellars. These contributed to his success at a time when so many other Victorian wine-makers were struggling.
In 1892 he was commissioned by the Victorian minister of agriculture to write a report on the Australian wine trade. Two years later he suggested a conference of vignerons to discuss problems facing the industry, and supported the proposal for a college of viticulture and the introduction of phylloxera-resistant American root stocks. He encouraged industry self-regulation through an elected board, the establishment of regional wineries and cheaper finance for investors in the wine industry. He travelled to Europe several times to learn wine-making techniques and arrange sales.
"The Irvine Wine Collection was acquired by Museum Victoria in 1989. It represents the history of the Great Western Vineyard and the achievements of Hans William Henry Irvine, vigneron and politician, from 1888 until 1922. It comprises 130 items ranging from publications, marketing items, packaging materials, wine labels, award medals, ceramics, illuminated address, commemorative trowel, trophy plaques, wine makers tools, and silverware."
A gold medal (25 * 35 mm including loop) of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales awarded to Hans Irvine as Champion Prize for a Hock wine in 1903.It features New South Wales holding a burning torch and Victors wreath standing on a platform and surrounded by the four Seasons as children undertaking agricultural tasks. The top of the medal is an extended loop made to represent the top of an olive wreath, it is holed and has a gold loop through it.
New South Wales holding a burning torch and Victors wreath standing on a platform and surrounded by the four Seasons as children undertaking agricultural tasks; around, ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF N.S.W.
Engraved within an olive wreath; -1903- / CHAMPION PRIZE / HANS W.H.IRVINE /- FOR- / HOCK
Stokes & Martin (Mint), Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1903
Based on one of Irvine's medals being in a Stokes fitted box, however the die work does not look like Stokes - perhaps the dies were supplied to different mints each year.
Obverse: ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF N.S.W. Reverse (engraved): 1903 CHAMPION PRIZE HANS W.H.IRVINE FOR HOCK
Type of item
25 mm (Width), 30 mm (Height), 13.105 g (Weight)
height with loop extended 35 mm
Round with loop