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Presentation medallion commemorating The Duke & Duchess of York's Visit to the Colonies 1901

Date: 1901
Overall: 90 x 40 x 2 mm, 25 g
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Medallion
Object No: 00051752

User Terms

    This souvenir medallion celebrates the Royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to Australia 1901. It was issued as a commemorative piece and features the Duke and Duchess in profile encircled by a laurel wreath.
    SignificanceBritish Royal Visits to the Australasian region have always been greeted with fanfare and the production of commemorative souvenir material. This medallion is a tangible link to the excitement created by the 1901 visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.
    HistoryRoyal visit and HMS OPHIR:

    The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 meant that the planned 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). There was a great deal of public speculation that the tour would not actually go ahead. On the eve of their Royal Tour in 1901 Prince George of Wales was made Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay (formally referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York). The new Duke and Duchess of York set sail on 16 March 1901 in HMS OPHIR, covering a total distance of 45,000 miles, and visiting the principal colonies of the British Empire (excluding India) on their eight month goodwill tour.

    The OPHIR was an Orient liner chartered from the company, converted for the Royal Tour and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 26 February 1901. 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 ship was commanded by Commodore A L Winsloe with 21 officers under his command, in addition to a full complement of crew and staff.

    The tour to New Zealand was well received by the public who turned out in their thousands to greet the Duke and Duchess. Copper medallions were produced for schoolchildren as a memento of the Royal Visit. A full program of events was planned in all Australian ports, centring on celebrations of Australia’s recent Federation. The Duke’s main task in Australia was to inaugurate the first Australian Federal Parliament in Melbourne. Numerous souvenirs and mementoes celebrating the occasion were produced. The tour was a resounding diplomatic success.

    On his return from the Tour in late 1901, George 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.

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