News & Events

A crowd of over 1,000 flock to the Meadow Party

May 7, 2019

Over 1,000 Victorians flocked to the Association’s ‘Meadow Party’ for an afternoon of boomerang throwing, Punch and Judy Show, performing dogs, and champagne. The fete was attended by the Governor of Victoria the Earl of Hopetoun. Three new cottages were ‘promised’ to be built and endowed immediately.

The lavish event was organised by the Old Colonists’ to fundraise for the “Old Homes”.  Mainly attended by Society people, evidently interested in meeting or seeing the Governor of Victoria, who, reported The Age[1], could withstand the heat better than most.

“Whilst we who ought to have been long since seasoned by the sun were sheltering und umbrellas, the young Governor of Victoria bare his head when the National Anthem was played, and stood in the full glare of one of the hottest days of the season without flinching.”

The Meadow Party was attended by “all sorts and conditions of Old Colonists and their friends, Sir James and Lady MacBain, the Mayor of Melbourne Mr. D. M. Davies, Minister of Lands; the Chancellor of the University, Mr William McCulloch, M. L.C. and other Members of the Council of Assembly, well dressed children a la little Lord Fauntleroy, other children plainly dressed, men and women in fashionable attire; people from Toorakia and people from the country, and many other acquaintances from different parts of the colony,” the article reported.

“The one figure missing was that of the veteran founder, Mr George Coppin. His absence was regretted by his friends.”

“The visitors were entertained by Signor Zelman’s band, children amused themselves on the merry go round, watching Punch and Judy and the performing dogs. Caterer Skinner’s largest marquee was kept fill with thirsty crowds, there being a supply of champagne cup and ices and other good things for all.”

For the inmates, said The Age, it was a fete day for the Inmates of the Homes who were made to feel that they were the hosts of the 1500 guests. After the formalities, the Governor “went from house to house and shook hands and chatted with the ten old ladies and eight old gentlemen who occupy different cottages, treating the old ladies with almost courtly deference, the manner of the old school when Youth addressed Age.”

“The great event of the day was to be an exhibition of Boomerang and spear throwing by ‘King Baruch’, last of the Yarra tribe, and three other blacks to show their skill in the use of aboriginal weapons. A large space of ground was lined by the Garrison Artillery, and the performance commenced. There was too much wind, or the boomerang throwing would have been much better, but it was sufficient to show the extraordinary qualities of this weapon and to make the soldiers break their line as one came whizzing past them.”

Before he left, the Governor of Victoria expressed his hope that the accommodation would be increased, such a charity being urgently needed in Victoria.

This ‘Meadow Party’ not only ‘boomed’ the Association but the immediate result was that new cottages were promised to be immediately built and endowed by Alfred K. Clarke, ‘In memory of his father’ in 1891; built by Mr. and Mrs. Alford and endowed by John Traill in 1891; and Mr and Mrs George Ramsden in 1892.

[1]Monday 17thMarch 1890 – The Age (Melbourne, Vic) p.5 (2)




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