France Paris
Medal - Universal Exhibition, Paris Gold 1867 (AD)
Mint: Paris
Awarded to: Barry, Redmond (Sir)
Other Details: In the second half of the 19th century, many Victorians participated in international exhibitions to promote export of their products. Sir Redmond Barry led a Victorian delegation to Paris in 1867. He was presented this gold medal, the work of the French artist P J H Ponscarme, by the French Exhibition Commissioners. The medal was presented in a box containing two other medals. Sir Redmond Barry is best remembered for his remarkable influence on the cultural life of Victoria through his role as founder of both the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Public Library, now the State Library of Victoria. He also founded or helped to found the Athenaeum, the Melbourne Club, the Philharmonic Society, the Royal Society of Victoria and the Melbourne Hospital.

Physical Description

A gold medal (36 mm diameter) featuring a laureate head of Napoleon III and Victory flying above a globe carrying a map of the Exposition

Obverse Description

Laureate head left; around, NAPOLEON III EMPEREUR; below in small letters, H. PONSCARME F.

Reverse Description

Victory flying left above globe holding map of exhibition; around, EXPOSITION.UNIVERSELLE.DE1867.A PARIS.COMMISSION.IMPERIALE

Edge Description

OR (& bee)


Although Redmond Barry was President of Commissioners for the 1866 exhibition which was the precursor of the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris, he resigned from his post at the 1866 exhibition and did not participate in the inaurugration ceremony. It is unclear why he resigned, but Ann Galbally suggests that he difered profoundly from the other Commissioners including Frederick McCoy and Ferdinand von Mueller in his views about what was to be shown. For instance, he was 'sympathetic' to Aborigines and their plight, but 16 Aboriginal busts by Charles Summers and Charles Walters (initiated by Barry) were shown only in Paris - not merely because Summers was a judge in Melbourne, but possibly because the other Commissioners were concerned about these sympathetic portraits. Barry also initiated the Vocabulary of Dialects Spoken by Aboriginal Natives of Australia as part of the 1866 exhibition - but this received no mention in the press in relation to the Exhibition, and generally received a cold reception. Barry was initially not asked to represent Victoria in Paris. -Ann Galbally, Redmond Barry, an Anglo-Irish Australian, pp. 149-155. -D. Tout-Smith 27/5/2004.

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