Glass negative stereograph showing the Irish National Foresters Society Banner on display in the Friendly Society Procession along Collins Street. It is part of the G. H. Myers Collection which consists of 73 photographs taken by Godfrey Henry Myers, an electrician and amateur photographer, in Melbourne during May 1901. 72 of these photographs depict preparations for the celebrations that surrounded Federation; all but one are glass stereographs. This collection represents Myers' one venture into commercial photography. It is significant for its images of the crowds, which do not feature so prominently in commercial photographs. The remaining photograph is a family portrait.

The opening of the Australian Parliament on May 9 1901 was an occasion for great celebrations in Melbourne. Ten days of festivities (from 6-16 May) were planned to mark the Federation of the new nation and honour the Royal visitors, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. The city was transformed with decorations - flags, bunting, colourful lights and festive arches - and a series of public events were held, including a military tattoo and several street parades. Unprecedented numbers of people arrived in Melbourne from the rest of Victoria and throughout Australia to take part in the celebrations.

Description of Content

The Irish National Foresters Society Banner. The Friendly Society Procession through Collins Street Melbourne, Federation celebrations May 1901. Crowds watch six Clydesdale bedecked horses pull a wagon with its painted banner. They gave the Royal visitors three cheers. The Society's political message of martyred patriots was both controversial and indicative of the freedom of expression and tolerance of difference under 'the grand Old Flag'. The connection to Robert Burns in the title given the image by the photographer is unclear. The unofficial Australian flag being flown overhead is without the large star of the Commonwealth; this was acquired on 3 September 1901. To the left of the image is the Town hall clock, to the right is a largely empty fee-paying viewing stand. In the background is the German Arch.

More Information