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Royalty and Australian Society: Records relating to the British Monarchy held in Canberra


1 Queen Victoria (1837–1901)

Image 3: Queen Victoria's 60th year on the throne was marked by special commemorative celebrations in Sydney.

Image 3: Queen Victoria's 60th year on the throne was marked by special commemorative celebrations in Sydney.
NAA: M3816,, 7 Part 1(1)
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Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1819 an ascended the throne in 1837 at the age of eighteen. She married Prince Albert of Germany and bore him nine children before Albert's death in 1861, when the Queen was aged 42. The Australian colonies federated on 1 January 1901 forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Queen Victoria died shortly after this, on 22 January 1901. She had been the reigning monarch for 63 years.

In Australia the most apparent legacy of Queen Victoria's reign is manifested in the names Victoria and Queensland. These names, which were originally given to two colonies during the nineteenth century, were retained when the colonies achieved statehood within the Commonwealth in 1901.

Because the bulk of Queen Victoria's reign predates Federation, the Archives holds few records created during or representing her reign. Most of the records listed below document Australian reaction to her death.

Examples of records relating to Queen Victoria
Series: A6
Recorded by: 1901 Department of External Affairs (CA 7)
Proclamation – Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 and Other Acts of the Sovereign on Federation, 1900–1901 A6, 1901/922
Series: A1721
Recorded by: 1896–1905 Patent Office, WA (CA 1257)
Copyright Registration with exhibit – Greenham and Evans Photograph of the casket to the Queen, 1897 A1721, 2
Image 4: The Sydney commemorative program to celebrate Queen Victoria's 60th year as monarch.

Image 4: The Sydney commemorative program to celebrate Queen Victoria's 60th year as monarch.
NAA: M3816,, 7 Part 1(2)
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Image 5: Queen Victoria's commission declaring her assent to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Bill.

Image 5: Queen Victoria's commission declaring her assent to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Bill.
NAA: A5137, Set 3
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Series: M3816
Recorded by: 1860–1966 Rt Hon Sir Eric John Harrison KCMG KCVO (CP 648)
A national souvenir of Her Majesty's most glorious 'Record Reign', 1896

Record Reign Celebrations – Programme for Tuesday 22 June 1897 to Celebrate the Completion of the Sixtieth Year of the Reign of her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.

M3816, 7 part 1
Series: A5137
Recorded by: 1900 Joint House Department (CA 693)
Commission, signed by Queen Victoria, empowering the Lords Commissioners to declare Royal Assent to the Bill creating the Commonwealth of Australia, 1900

This item consists of photographic viewing copies. The original document is on permanent display in the National Archives Federation Gallery in Canberra. A facsimile, made for the Australian Bicentennial Exhibition which toured Australia during 1988, is displayed in Parliament House Canberra. Further information is available at the Documenting a Democracy website.

A5137, 1

The death of Queen Victoria

The Queen's death, after a sixty year reign, was felt strongly throughout the Commonwealth.

The day before the Queen's death, after news of the severity of her illness had been circulating, crowds began to congregate in the cities:

Public anxious for news. Crowds round the newspaper offices.

Since the intimation was first made by cable that Her Majesty was seriously ill, a great deal of anxiety has been manifested by all classes of the community to learn the latest news of her condition. Quite a rush was made for the Herald yesterday for that purpose.1

The newspapers the next day announced the following:

Queen Victoria has ceased to live. For the last sixty years or more she has been the pivot on which the British Empire has hung, the magic force by which that great machine was stirred into action. For two generations Queen Victoria has sat on the Throne of the greatest Empire in the world and the imagination staggers at the news now brought. There is no more Queen Victoria; no more 'widow of Windsor'; no more gentle and noble lady presiding over the affairs of the British Empire.

Millions who have never seen the face of the dead Queen honour and revere her memory throughout the length and breadth of the entire civilised world. In all stages of her history the imaginations were captured. Whether as Virgin Queen, or happy wife and mother or afflicted widow, Queen Victoria has appealed to us all as a great Queen and a noble woman.2

The following are examples of records relating to the death of Queen Victoria
Series: A1
Recorded by: 1903–1907 Department of External Affairs (CA 7)
Queen Victoria Memorial, 1901–1910 A1, 1911/10954
Series: A6
Recorded by: 1901 Department of External Affairs (CA 7)
'The Death of HM Queen Victoria', 1901 A6, 1901/116
Copy of proclamation by the Queen, dated 1837, requiring all persons being in office of Authority or Government, at the decease of the late King to proceed in the execution of their respective offices, 1901 A6, 1901/181
Changes in certain Dates due to Demise of the Queen, 1901 A6, 1901/777
Series: A458
Recorded by: 1923–1924 Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
Memorials Oil Painting of Late Queen Victoria Offer to sell by Mrs Outred, 1928

Correspondence from a Mrs Outred to the Government offering to sell a portrait of Queen Victoria for 20 guineas. The offer was declined.

A458, AV370/2
Series: A1716
Recorded by: 1887–1902 Patent Office, Queensland (CA 1246)
In Memorium of the Late Queen Victoria, 1903 A1716, 258
Series: A1786
Recorded by: 1870–1907 Registrar of Copyrights, Vic (CA 1400)
St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne. Order Of Service. Queen Victoria, 1901 A1786, 9568B
Series: A1861
Recorded by: 1907–1913 Australian Industrial Property Organisation (CA 555)
Handmade Tinsel Work of Queen Victoria Statue, 1907 A1861, 79
Series: A2863
Recorded by: 1901–1970 Attorney-General's Department (CA 5)
A2863, 1905/18

This Act required that £25 000 be paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose of erecting a Memorial to Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria Memorial Act 1905
Series: A6661
Recorded by: 1888–1936 Governor-General (CA 1)
Death etc. of HM Queen Victoria, 1901 A6661, 437
Death of Queen Victoria and Accession of Edward VIII, 1901–1902 A6661, 437A
Series: A6662
Recorded by: 1887–1912 Governor-General (CA 1)
Governor-General's Office – Correspondence – Poetry written in honour of Queen Victoria

(Note: includes the Supplement to The Tasmanian, 1907–08)

A6662, 1161

J D Horne of Castlemaine wrote the following poem in the Queen's honour:

Who can recall to memory the life
Of one so loved, so dear —
A devoted mother, Queen and wife
A friend when few drew near —
And not in silent agony
Be melted into tears.

A nation weeps her,
The whole world mourns her...
Dead, did I say? Ah! No! She lives
In every loving heart.
A nation's grief is not assuaged –
No time can heal the smart.

She lives for ever, and her deeds
Will live in memory too,
And history recount her praise
For all the ages through.
For never monarch lived on earth
So worthy of our song...

Series: M3816
Recorded by: 1860–1966 Rt Hon Sir Eric John Harrison KCMG KCVO (CP 648)
Excerpt from The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 1901 (Death of Queen Victoria)

Contains extracts from The Sydney Morning Herald, reporting on the death of the Queen.

M3816, 29
Image 6: Extracts from <em>The Sydney Morning Herald</em>, 24 January 1901.

Image 6: Extracts from The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 1901.
NAA: M3816,, 29
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Notes

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