# 24312


H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh and suite in mining costume after descending The Band of Hope Gold Mine, Ballarat, Australia. Decr. 10th 1867.

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[Title from printed caption on mount]. Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 102 x 62 mm (mount), recto of mount with gilt-lettered caption and gilt border around the print; no photographer’s imprint; verso (as in other examples) with 3 decorative cartouches in gilt for mounting small portraits; the print has mottling in the negative, as well as a couple of surface scratches and a light mark to the right of the Duke’s head.

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh’s visit of 1867-68 was the first to the Australian colonies by a member of the royal family, a momentous event which created enormous public interest. In March 1868 he would survive an assassination attempt at Clontarf, Sydney, when he was shot in the back by an Irish nationalist, Henry James O’Farrell.

The following report of the royal visit to The Band of Hope mine was published in the Melbourne newspaper The Australasian on 14 December, 1867:

‘It was not to be expected that the Duke would visit Ballarat without going to see some of its more celebrated claims, and accordingly a visit to tho Band of Hope formed one of the principal features in the programme of the Reception Committee. His Royal Highness left Craig’s Hotel at a little after 2 on his way to the claim, driving himself a drag and four in hand. Seated in tho same vehicle were Lord Newry, the Hon. Eliot Yorke, and Mr. Verdon. Proceeding along, the Sebastopol Boad, the Royal party passed through two large triumphal arches, and arrived at the Band of Hope claim at twenty minutes past 2. A large crowd of people had congregated on tbe claim, and the Prince was received with demonstrations of the utmost enthusiasm. At the gate, he was met by Mr. A. J. Forbes, the manager of the company, and was conducted through a large body of the miners employed in the claim, who lined the path up. On entering the brace, the directors of the company received His Royal Highness, and, under the guidance of the manager, he proceeded to inspect the puddling-machines, the operations of the buddles, and other parts of the surface works. The party then entered a small room prepared for the occasion, and enrobed themselves in garments impervious to damp. Advancing to the mouth of the principal, or No. 2 Shaft, the Duke took his place along with Mr. Forbes in the cage, and the signal having been given, the Duke dropped slowly down the shaft amid the loud cheers of the spectators. At the next turn, Lord Newry and Mr. Yorke descended, then followed Mr. Manners Sutton, Mr. Verdon, Lieut. Rothwell, and one or two others. The mine was fully lighted up, and a crown and occasional stars, lit up along the course of the mine, increased the general effect. The Duke went along the whole oxtent of the drives – nearly two miles in length – sometimes walking and sometimes seated on a truck. He used the pick freely, and knocked off several very fine specimens of gold. To use the expression of the miners, he ” fossicked” about in true digger style, and was evidently delighted with tho novelty, of the scene and the situation. The frequent messages for brandy sent up from below also proved that the Royal party were taking care to prevent injurious consequences from the damp. It was twenty minutes to 3 when the Duke descended the mine, and he did not appear on tho surface again till twenty-five minutes past 4. He was received with loud cheers; and when he saw in broad daylight his garments coated with mud, and dripping with wet, he seemed to be agreeably surprised with his workmanlike appearance. In a few minutes the whole party were above ground, and proceeded to witness the washing out of some buckets of washdirt. The Duke entered with manifest zest into the operations. Along with Lord Newry, Mr. Yorke, and others, he puddled about the dirt, and picked up several fine lumps of gold. To see a Royal Duke working, with his sleeves up, in a trough of washdirt – even although gold dirt-was a novel sight, and the crowd of people whioh filled the brace watched the operations of the Royal party with great interest. The washing was unusually rich. The gold could be seen in lumps in the dirt, and almost every member of the party bought away a substantial memento of their visit to this great mine. This portion of tho proceedings over, some bottles of champagne were uncorked, and Mr. Casselli, the chairman of tho company, presented the Duke with a magnificent nugget, enclosed in a handsome morocco case. The nugget weighs 22ozs., and is one of the finest specimens of gold ever found in the colony. It was taken out of the claim about two months ago, and specially reserved for presentation to His Royal Highness. The case in which it was enclosed had a silver plate, with the following inscription:-“Presented to His Royal Highness Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, on the occasion of his visit to the United Extended Band of Hope Mining Company’s mine, Ballarat. – H. A. CASSELI, Chairman ; A. J. FORBES, Manager.” The Prince, in a few words, acknowledged the gift, and expressed the pleasure which he had derived from his visit to the Band of Hope mine….’