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HMS OPHIR in which their Royal Highnesses came to New Zealand June 1901

Date: 1901
1 x 27 mm (1.06 in)
Medium: Copper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medallion
Object No: 00040631

User Terms

    This copper souvenir medallion celebrates the Royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to New Zealand in June 1901. It was issued as a commemorative piece for children and features the Duke and Duchess in profile plus HMS OPHIR.
    SignificanceBritish Royal Visits to the Australasian region have always been greeted with fanfare and the production of commemorative souvenir material. This New Zealand school children’s medallion is a tangible link to the excitement created by the 1901 visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.
    HistoryThe death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 meant that the Royal Tour of the British Empire scheduled by Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra had to be undertaken by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York while preparations were made for the crowning of the new king (Edward VII). They set sail on 16 March 1901 in HMS OPHIR for an eight-month goodwill tour where the main task for the Duke was to inaugurate the first Australian Federal Parliament in Melbourne.

    Leaving from Portsmouth, HMS OPHIR called at the following ports: Gibraltar, Malta, Port Said, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Singapore, Albany, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, Lyttleton, Hobart, Adelaide, Albany, Fremantle, Mauritius, Durban, Simonstown, St Vincent, Quebec, Halifax, St Johns and back to Portsmouth.

    The OPHIR was an Orient liner converted for the Royal Tour and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 26 February 1901. The ship's compliment included 125 bluejackets, 100 marines, 37 bandsmen, 20 boys, 7 engineer officers, 88 stokers, 2 pursers, 50 stewards, 9 cooks and assistant cooks, 3 bakers, 2 butchers, 1 laundryman (with his wife), 1 printer, and 2 barbers. The ship was commanded by Commodore A L Winsloe with 21 officers under his command. (The Royal Tour 1901 or The Cruise of H.M.S. Ophir by Petty Officer Harry Price, 1980.)

    The tour to New Zealand was well received by the populace who turned out in their thousands to greet the Duke and Duchess. It was a resounding diplomatic success. Copper medallions were produced for schoolchildren as a memento of the Royal Visit.

    George Frederick Ernest Albert was born in 1865 with the title Prince George of Wales. He was third in line to the throne after his brother Albert Victor. In 1892 he was created Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killarney - this was the year his brother died and he became second in line after his father. In 1893 he married Princess Victoria Mary (called May) who had been his brother's fiancee and favoured by the Queen and his parents as a suitable match and future Queen. On the eve of their Royal Tour in 1901 George was made Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay (formally referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York). On his return from the Tour in late 1901 he was made Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester as his father ascended the throne. In 1910 George himself ascended the throne as King George V; beside him was his wife Queen Mary. He reigned until his death in 1936.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: HMS OPHIR in which their Royal Highnesses came to New Zealand June 1901

    Secondary title: Children's Souvenir. Visit Duke & Duchess of Cornwall to New Zealand

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