Monday, September 12, 2011

The Visit of Prince Alfred to Queensland 1868 (Part 2)

Contemplative study of the Prince

While the German community of Toowoomba were seething at the snub provided by the prince’s brief stopovers, the regal train made its way down the Range and through the Lockyer Valley to Ipswich.
The newspaper reports are wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, as was the style of the times.


Our royal visitor returned on Thursday afternoon from his trip up the railway line, arriving at the station in Ellenborough Street shortly after 3 o'clock. He drove off to the Club immediately.

About a dozen men of the Ipswich Volunteers, rifles and artillery, formed a guard of honour at the railway station under Sergeant Phelan, the remainder of the corps, under Captain Hodgson, numbering about seventy, being stationed at the Club House. They did duty in their usual efficient manner and, having left a guard in front of the building, returned to quarters with the band and were dismissed.

Ipswich Railway Station ca. 1868

The Prince was not particularly loquacious during his visit to the Grammar School.  However he did honour them with his signature in their visitor’s book.

The Grammar School was visited by the Duke of Edinburgh on Thursday afternoon An arch of evergreens had been erected at the gate, and here the boys assembled and gave H. R. H. three hearty cheers as he entered. They also managed to reach the building before the carriages-the hill being rather steep-and cheered again as the visitor entered. The Duke was received in the principal entrance by the trustees and the masters, and was conducted into the hall, where a number of visitors had assembled.

Ipswich Grammar School ca.1868

Here Dr. Challinor, on behalf of the trustees read an address, as did also Mr Hawthorne on behalf of the "governors, masters, and pupils." The Prince said nothing. The party afterwards went over the principal part of the building spending a few minutes in the museum and also at the top of the tower, from which a fine view of the surrounding country is obtained. H.R.H left his autograph with date as a memento of his visit.

The prince was not any more forthcoming that evening.

Having honoured the members of the North Australian club by accepting their invitation to take up his quarters at the Club House as their guest, the committee were guilty of the presumption of thinking it possible that His Royal Highness might further gratify his entertainers by dining with them in the evening. Several gentlemen, including the Mayor, the Premier, the Colonial Secretary, and others, were accordingly invited. We need hardly say any more. The Prince dined in his own rooms. His health, however, as well as that of Her Majesty, was drunk by the members and then other guests with proper enthusiasm.

After resting in his quarters, the prince summoned up enough energy to make a brief appearance at a ball held in his honour.

The ball at the School of Arts was in many respects a decided success. The Duke of Edinburgh, who arrived at 10 o'clock, danced the first quadrille with Mrs Geo. Harris, and the waltz which followed with Mrs J. P. Bell, after which he retired. His Royal Highness was in plain evening dress. The artillery formed a guard of honour at the School of Arts, and presented arms as the Duke entered, and also as he left the building.

Those at the ball were set on enjoying themselves and danced on into the night.

The total number present was about 120. Dancing was kept up with spirit till 3 o'clock yesterday morning. As regards the decorations of the hall, nothing could have been more admirable. The band was Seal's, from Brisbane and the music was everything that could be wished. Supper was laid in the leading room by Wright in a style that could hardly be excelled anywhere, either for quality or elegance.

Following an address by the Mayor, the Prince made his way to the river wharf.  His mood has not improved.  He is not impressed by the river steamer provided.

The approaches to the wharves were decorated in anticipation of the departure of His Royal Highness being by water. The sides of the road (which was gravelled) were neatly ornamented with evergreens, and a pretty little arch was fixed against the stone abutment at the foot of East Street. The steamer Kate was awaiting, but the Prince declined availing himself of her services, and she left with Mr. Mackenzie and others at an early hour.

The Paddle Steamer Kate
So highly was the efficiency and good service of our men appreciated by the authorities that a firing party of twenty of the artillery, under Captain Jetter, were sent to Brisbane by the Kate steamer, to assist in the farewell demonstrations.

The Prince elects to proceed back to Brisbane by coach.

Yesterday morning, between 8 and 9, accompanied by Captain O'Connell, Commodore Lambert, and suite, he started for Brisbane, driving a team of handsome bays supplied by Cobb and Co.  H.R.H. was cheered everywhere, but he acknowledged the attention in the most perfunctory manner possible.

Thus ended Prince Alfred’s visit to Ipswich and the loyal subjects of his mother Victoria, ruler of the British Empire. Ho Hum!

© K. C. Sbeghen, 2011.

[1] The Brisbane Courier 2.3.1868

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