On Thursday, the CSU Regional Archives hosted a public talk by staff from State Records NSW on the Carrington Albums, a series of volumes containing illuminated addresses, photographs and memorabilia recently gifted to New South Wales by the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies and the Carington family. Three of the twenty-two volumes were placed on display during the day, showcasing the intricate hand-painted illuminated addresses.
Charles Robert Carington (1843-1928), third Baron Carrington, was appointed Governor of NSW on December 12, 1885. Lord Carrington, in addition to his political and diplomatic work, left his mark on NSW by dedicating Centennial Park in Sydney, and laid the foundation stones of the Trades Hall and the projected new Houses of Parliament. He was good friends with Henry Parkes and was a supporter of federation, even after his return to the United Kingdom.
Lady Carrington became well known for her establishment and management of the Jubilee Fund, a charity to relieve distressed women. Both Lord and Lady Carrington were well liked in NSW and during their farewell in 1890 thousands of people lined the streets of Sydney and showered flowers on their carriage.
The Carrington Albums are a series of 22 presentation volumes containing hand-printed dedications, photographs and memorabilia from regional towns visited by Lord and Lady Carrington during his time as Governor of NSW between 1885 and 1890.
The albums were held in the United Kingdom by the Carington family for many years before being given into the care of High Wycombe Library in Buckinghamshire. Around 10 years ago the albums were transferred to the county archives at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies in Aylesbury.
Given the significance of the albums to NSW, the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies last year suggested that the albums be repatriated to Australia and transferred to State Records NSW. The Carrington Albums were officially handed over to the New South Wales Government in January 2014 at a ceremony at Government House. They were received by Her Excellency The Honourable Marie Bashir and the Minister for Finance and Services, Dominic Perrottet.
State Records NSW has commenced work on a project to digitise the Carrington Albums and already a number of the volumes are available online at gallery.records.nsw.gov.au.
Lord Carrington was Governor of NSW from December 1885 to November 1890. While on his way to visit Albury early in his tenure, Lord Carrington’s train stopped in Wagga Wagga on Wednesday, September 15, 1886.
Earlier in the year, the Municipal Council had invited the Governor to Wagga for the Spring Race Meeting in November but he declined, intimating a slight objection to his first official visit to Wagga being a race meeting.
The Governor’s private secretary suggested the Governor could visit on his return from Albury in September but the Council didn’t like that, saying the “principal residents” of the town would be busy with shearing.
At the Governor’s suggestion that he visit for the Wagga Show, the council aldermen politely objected to that also, as they felt they couldn’t compete with the Albury show since the Wagga one “was only in its infancy”. They didn’t mention that to the Governor, of course; they wrote back to Lord Carrington with the information that, inconveniently, their show was held a week before Albury’s show.
As it turned out, Lord Carrington did visit on his Albury trip but only for the time it took to fill the water tank on the train. The Wagga Wagga Advertiser reported the next day:
“Up to nearly midnight it was hardly known whether his Excellency the Governor would stay a little here on his way to the Albury P, A, and H Show.... But the news that our new Governor would alight here for a brief time spread like wild fire…
“During the previous night, wonders had been done. An address had been hurriedly compiled, Mr G Sheppard (Borough Surveyor) had decorated the railway platform with flags, and surmounted the capital of every pillar with the sweet scented wattle, and on every side there was evidence that Her Majesty’s representative in New South Wales would not be allowed to pass Wagga without witnessing palpable proofs of the loyalty of her subjects in this part of the world.”
The Wagga Railway Station was packed with people by half-past 7 o’clock in the morning, causing the Station Master, Mr Crook, some anxiety in keeping the crowd away from the train tracks without causing offence to the ladies present. Senior Sergeant Powell and his constables were called to help keep some order.
When the Governor’s train came in sight at half past eight in the morning, the Town Band launched into the National Anthem, the Volunteers with fixed bayonets gave a Royal salute, His Excellency was received with loud cheers by the crowd and he was escorted by the Mayor, Mr Hayes, to the station’s Waiting Room, where members of the Municipal Council had gathered.
After the official introductions, Mayor Hayes then read out the prepared address, to which the Governor replied with thanks. This was followed by the Mayor proposing the Health of his Excellency the Governor. The toasts continued until the train’s whistle called the Governor to return and as he left for Albury he was followed by the sound of music from the town band and the huge cheers of the crowd.
The people of Wagga must have felt they’d made quite the impression on Lord Carrington as they seem assured that he would soon return for a proper visit within the year. They invited him to the 1888 Agricultural Show, but he could not make it and it was not until September 1890, just two months before his tenure as governor was up, that Lord Carrington returned to Wagga.
Both Lord and Lady Carrington spent two whole days in Wagga and finally managed to attend the Murrumbidgee Pastoral and Agricultural Show after all. The Wagga Wagga Advertiser reported on the lengthy visit on September 4 and 6, which you can read all about online in Trove (www.trove.nla.gov.au).
Compiled by Jillian Kohlhagen
References: Charles Robert Carrington, Australian Dictionary of Biography, [http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/carrington-charles-robert-3169]; Wagga Wagga Advertiser, 5 June 1886, 19 June 1886, 16 Sept 1886, 31 July 1888, 7 Aug 1888, 11 Sept 1888, 4 Sept 1890, 6 Sept 1890; State Records NSW gallery: The Carrington Albums – Illuminated Addresses [http://gallery.records.nsw.gov.au/index.php/galleries/carrington-albums-illuminated-addresses/]
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