“Previous Royal Visits 1868-1901-1920” The Mercury (Hobart), Saturday 16 April 1927, pg. 17.
THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH.
HIS Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh was the first Royal visitor to Tasmania. He arrived at Hobart Town on Monday, January 6, 1868, in H.M.S.S. Galatea. Her progress through Storm Bay to the estuary of the Derwent was reported at intervals in the city. At 9 o’clock she was signalled from Eaglehawk Neck; at 2.30 p.m. three guns roared to announce that she had passed the “Iron Pot,” and a few minutes before three o’clock, dense volumes of black smoke rising from behind the hill at Crayfish Point, preceded the first full view of the Galatea as she rounded the point. “As soon as it became known that she was in sight, great excitement prevailed, and business was almost entirely suspended. In the city, most of the shops were closed for a brief period.” About 3.30 p.m. she arrived off the battery, and then the volunteers opened their welcoming salute. “On the first gun being fired, the Galatea’s ensign was dipped twice, but no further notice was taken of the compliment. On the salute being fired, the bells of Trinity Church, under the amateur bell-ringers, rang out a merry peal of welcome. Three cheers were given by the multitude assembled, and the officers on the bridge acknowledged the compliment by taking off their caps and bowing.” At 5 o’clock the Governor (Colonel Gore Browne), accompanied by the Premier (Sir Richard Dry), were received by His Royal Highness on the gangway of the Galatea. Shortly before 7 o’clock the Duke and his party left for Government House as the guests of the Governor at dinner. The dinner party, which was very small, included Ministers of the Crown. At 11 o’clock, His Royal Highness drove through the town, and again embarked on the Galatea.
THE STATE RECEPTION.
From the moment His Royal Highness landed the following day, until his arrival at Government House, the welcome which was accorded him was “spontaneous, heartfelt, and sincere.” A great crowd lined the streets, and stands had been erected to accommodate those who wished to get a better view. The Duke landed at the New Wharf (Prince’s wharf), and was welcomed by the Mayor of Hobart (Alderman J. M. Wilson). The Town Clerk (Mr. Henry Wilkinson) read a loyal address, in replying to which His Highness said: “Nothing has gratified me more than the unanimous desire of the people of each colony to impress upon me their loyalty for the Queen, their love for England.” The procession through the streets of the city was chiefly notable because of the magnificent arches erected. There was the whaling arch, of oil barrels and whaleboats, surmounted by the huge jaws of a whale. The first of the Government arches bore the word “Welcome,” executed in roses. The citizens’ arch was a quadruple arch, 57 feet high, surmounted by a floral crown, 10 feet high. It bore the words: “The Citizens Greet You.” Arriving at the Domain the Duke was welcomed by a gathering of thousands of Sunday School children who sang the specially composed “Ode of Welcome.” It was estimated that 20,000 persons were assembled on the Domain to see the procession on its way to Government House. In the evening a torchlight procession was held on the river, in which many vessels participated.
The following morning, the Duke laid the foundation stone of the present cathedral, and at noon, held a levee at Government House, where addresses were presented by members of the Legislative Council, the House of Assembly, the Church of England, the Church of Rome, the Church of Scotland, the Congregational Church, the Hebrew congregation, the Royal Society of Tasmania, the Freemasons, the Ancient Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Manchester Unity I.O.O.F., Rechabites, Glamorgan municipality, the Working Men’s Club, and the Wesleyan conference. On Thursday, January 9, His Royal Highness attended the 28th anniversary regatta on the Derwent, and was the guest of honour at the luncheon. In the evening there was a brilliant assemblage in the Town-hall on the occasion of the State ball. Friday, January 10, was spent at New Norfolk, and on Saturday, the citizens gave a banquet to the crew of the Galatea. On Monday, January 13, His Royal Highness left for the North, receiving welcomes en route. He spent the night at Mona Vale, the seat of the Hon. R. Q. Kermode, and left the following morning for Launceston. Here he was accorded another great reception, 5,000 persons assembling at the Sandhill to welcome him as he entered the city. The procession through the streets was a repetition of that which had taken place in Hobart Town, and another choir of Sunday School children greeted His Highness. At night the whole town was illuminated by gas. The following day the Duke planted two memorial oaks in Prince’s park, and later turned the first sod of the Launceston and western railway. Other duties in Launceston included a surprise visit to the Launceston Hospital, a visit to the Cataract Gorge, an illuminated aquatic procession, the State ball, and a levee.
In Hobart Town on the evening of January 18, the whole city was illuminated by gas light and lanterns, making a magnificent spectacle, notwithstanding “the consciousness of danger of conflagration always more or less inseparable from such occasions.” Unfortunately, two postponements had prevented the illuminations being held while the Duke was in Tasmania, for he left for Sydney, on the Galatea, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 18.
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Principal Entrance of Government House, Hobart
Colourised and enhanced photo showing the principal entrance of the Government House, Hobart, with horses and open carriage with seated dignitaries, taken at the time of the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit in January 1868.