Pipes, Handshakes and Politicians I have but few so instead to satisfy Sepia Saturday this week I will tell about an occasion when I’m sure there would have been many handshakes and greetings as the members of a Victorian mining community came together.
On the morning of Tuesday, 17th March 1868 my great great great grandfather, 40 year old Glaud Pender of Browns and Scarsdale, had one thing on his mind. He was preparing to stand up in front of a meeting of his fellow citizens, after having been introduced by the Mayor, to propose that they send a Get Well message to the young Duke of Edinburgh. Browns and Scarsdale was an early gold mining town in Central Victoria and at the time the district had about 4000 residents,
Alfred Ernest Albert, the second son of Queen Victoria, was born in 1844 and joined the navy as a midshipman,. By 1867 he was both a captain and the Duke of Edinburgh. He sailed his first command, H.M.S. Galatea, from the Mediterranean to South America and after two months at the Cape reached Adelaide in Australia in October 1867 to begin the first royal tour of Australia.
Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1867, from the State Library of Victoria
He then visited Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane then Sydney again. This time in Sydney he went to a charity picnic at Clontarf on 12th March. where Henry O’Farrell shot him in the back. The Drawing Room at Government House was converted into an operating theatre. where a couple of days later the bullet was removed by the Royal Navy surgeons with a special gold probe
Henry James O’Farrell, thanks to the State Library of N ew South Wales.
The Government tried to show an Irish conspiracy theory but O’Farrell said he acted alone. He had been mentally ill but this wasn’t sufficient to prevent him from being found guilty and executed., even though the Duke of Edinburgh requested the sentence not be carried out. The Duke came back to Australia the following year and dedicated hospitals, the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, in both Sydney and Melbourne to commemorate his safe recovery.
And this is why, five days after the shooting, Glaud Pender found himself on his feet in Scarsdale proposing a Get Well motion. Australia had been very embarrassed by the incident and towns and cities, large and small, were quick to rush to express their horror and indignation and confirm that they were very loyal to Queen Victoria.. The following
week Glaud’s motion was reported in the nearby Ballarat Star from Ballarat, where O’Farrell’s brother had a branch of his Melbourne law firm.
A transcription from The Ballarat Star, Friday 27th March. 1868
INDIGNATION MEETING AT SCARSDALE.
Mr Alexander Young, Mayor, occupied the chair. Mr Glaud Pender moved—”
That the inhabitants of Browns and Scarsdale beg most respectfully to express their utter detestation o£ the cowardly attempt upon the life of his Royal Highness tho Duke of Edinburgh, their profound sympathy with him in his sufferings, and their fervent prayers for his speedy recovery.” Mr M’Vitty seconded, Mr John Ward supported, and the resolution was carried unanimously, amid great applause.
Mr Knights then moved the second resolution as follows—” That the inhabitants of Browns and Scarsdale take this opportunity of expressing their heartfelt and unabated loyalty to their beloved Queen and tho Royal family.” Mr Hawkes seconded, upon which the motion was put and carried unanimously.
The Rev Sam Walker (Church of England) was then called upon to move the address to her Majesty and Prince Alfred as follows:—”I, the Mayor of Browns and Scarsdale, in the name of the inhabitants of the borough, in public meeting assembled, beg most respectfully to express their utter detestation of the cowardly attempt upon the life of his Royal Highness
the Duke of Edinburgh, their profound sympathy with him in his suffering, and their fervent prayers for his speedy recovery. They also take this opportunity of expressing their heartfelt and unabated loyalty to their beloved Queen and the Royal family.” Mr Donaldson seconded the resolution, which was put and carried with enthusiasm.
Mr Turner moved the third resolution as follows—”That a copy of the address be forwarded to his Excellency the Governor for transmission to her Majesty the Queen and his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.” Mr Hugh Young seconded, and the resolution was carried unanimously.
The singing of the National Anthem closed the proceedings.
And then, if they’d had the internet they would have raced home to find the links to more handshakes, greetings and politicians on this week’s Sepia Saturday