On the World Stage

Certificate & Medal, 1886

In 1886 Robert James Somerville departed his small farm, Tyrone, on the Manning and made the long journey to London for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition held from 4 May to 10 November to exhibit maize grown on his property. Robert Somerville was presented with this commemorative medal and award certificate for his participation.

Robert was one of many hundreds of individual citizens of the colony of New South Wales to answer the call for volunteer exhibitors, along with scientists, artisans, teachers, military men, artists and photographers, and together with various educational and cultural organisations and government agencies. The colonial government provided subsidies towards transportation costs, with exhibits at least partly dependent on the generosity, goodwill and pride of individual colonists.

The Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 had the objective to (in the words of the then Prince of Wales) “stimulate commerce and strengthen the bonds of union now existing in every portion of her Majesty’s Empire”. The exhibition was opened by Queen Victoria, and when it closed had received 5.5 million visitors. It was housed in a collection of purpose-built buildings designed in an Indian style.

For the New South Wales colony it was an opportunity to promote itself and attract much needed migrants and investment. For Robert, a young man in his early twenties, the Exhibition would have represented a great adventure, and an opportunity to see the rest of the world.


Who opened the Colonial & Indian Exhibition?

Exhibition Theme
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