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Invitation to celebrations of the opening of the first parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

Date: 1901
Overall: 303 x 370 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Invitation
Object No: 00032225
Place Manufactured:Melbourne

User Terms

    This is an unissued invitation from the Government of Victoria to the Royal Review held at Flemington racecourse on Friday 10 May 1901. The review was a celebration of the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia.

    The colourful invitation was printed by Sands & McDougall, and features a photographic scene of Flemington in each corner, and separate portraits of the Duke and the Duchess of Cornwall and York (Later King George V and Queen Mary). On the left of the invitation is an infantry man with a mounted soldier, and on the right of the invitation is a sailor with a mounted soldier. The decorative invitation also features a coat of arms and various early forms of state shields.
    SignificanceThis invitation is significant in showing the celebrations and national imagery that still connected Great Britain with the new Australian nation that was used to mark the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
    HistoryAs a consequence of the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, the Royal Tour of the British Empire scheduled by Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra was undertaken by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, while preparations were made for the crowning of the new king (Edward VII). During the eight-month goodwill tour to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, the Duke and Duchess travelled on HMS OPHIR - an Orient liner converted for the Royal Tour and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 26 February 1901. The main task for the Duke during the tour was to inaugurate the first Australian Federal Parliament in Melbourne.

    Leaving Portsmouth on 16 March 1901, HMS OPHIR called the ports of Gibraltar, Malta, Port Said, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Singapore and Albany, before a spectacular arrival at St Kilda pier in Melbourne on 6 May. Once on shore, the Duke and Duchess took part in a grand procession to the centre of Melbourne, marking the start of a week-long celebration of their visit. In cities and country towns across Australia, parades, reviews, balls, dinners, concerts and ceremonies were held to mark the occasion of the first visit by a British heir-apparent (the Duke later became King George V).

    The primary purpose of the visit, however, was the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament which took place on 9 May 1901. In front of 12,000 guests at the Melbourne Exhibition Building, the Duke addressed the parliamentarians and declared parliament open. After celebrations in Melbourne, the Duke and Duchess travelled to the nation’s state capitals, where celebrations continued.

    Leaving Melbourne, the goodwill tour continued in HMS OPHIR to Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, Lyttleton, Hobart, Adelaide, Albany, Fremantle, Mauritius, Durban, Simonstown, St Vincent, Quebec, Halifax, St Johns and back to Portsmouth.

    Additional Titles


    Web title: Invitation to celebrations of the opening of the first parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

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