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Monday, September 19, 2011

Royal Visits to the Blue Mountains

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh – 7th February 1868

Prince George (Later King George V) and Prince Albert Victor – 1881

Prince Francis Joseph Battenburg – 1895

Duke & Duchess of York – 1901 (Opening of Federal Parliament)

Edward, Prince of Wales – 1920 (not a visit – drove loco for a distance on the mountains)

Duke (later King George V1) & Duchess of York – 1927

Duke & Duchess of Gloucester – 1934 and in 1946 when he was Governor General

Queen Elizabeth II – 1954

Duke & Duchess of Gloucester (successor to above Gloucester) – February 1979

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduchess Sophie, who were assassinated at Sarajevo in June 1914, visited the Blue Mountains in May 1893

Peter Chinn

Prince Alfred 1868
The visit made by Prince Alfred the Duke of Edinburgh to the Blue Mountains and particularly to the waterfalls at Weatherboard (now Wentworth Falls) was reported in the Queanbeyan Age on 8th February 1868.  The party consisted of the Bishop of Sydney; the Bishop of Goulburn; the Earl of Belmore; the Hon. James Martin QC (Premier); the Hon. Henry Parkes, Colonial Secretary; the Hon. J. Bowie Wilson, Secretary for Lands; the Hon. James Byrnes, Minister for Works; the Hon. J. Docker, Postmaster General; the Hon. T.A. Murray, President of the Legislative Council; Dr. Badham, Professor of Classics Sydney University; Commodore Lambert; Colonel Waddy C.B.; Lord Newry, the Hon. Eliot Yorke; Mr. Brierly;  the Hon. George Allen MLC; Captain Beresford; Mr. Piddington MP; Mr. Lord MP; Mr. Windeyer MP; Mr. Barnet, Colonial Architect; the Countess of Belmore and about twelve other ladies.

Water falls at Wentworth Falls
The article was extensive and reported precise details about the event from the time the party left Sydney to the particulars of who was seated in the ‘Royal’ carriage. The article praised the Nepean Bridge, as one of ‘our greatest wonders,’ and the zig zag, which made rail travel across the Blue Mountains possible.  It mentioned corn fields, orange groves and orchards visible from the train as well as ‘bare-legged... half naked children’ and poorly clad men and women who lined the route as the train steamed past.  About 100 people clad in ‘bush working dress’ met the train at Weatherboard where the Prince and his party alighted to board the waiting carriages which conveyed them to the waterfalls.  

After viewing the falls for around three hours waiters served a sumptuous luncheon in the tents which had been set up for the occasion.  An unfortunate event marred his visit to Australia however when an attempt was made to assassinate the Prince when he visited Clontarf in that same year.

Arrest of would be assassin at Clontarf

Prince Francis Joseph Battenburg 1895
The Prince arrived in Adelaide in February 1895 after spending time in India where, according to The Advertiser, he joined the mail boat in Colombo. He was to spend a short time in the Australia before returning via New Zealand and America.  The paper reported that the Prince had a pleasant intellectual face but he had a ‘suggestion of a stoop in his figure.’

The Advertiser stated;
“he was born in Padua in 1861 and was the son of Prince Alexander of Battenburg (Hesse) who was brother to the late Empress of Russia.  His eldest brother, Prince Louis of Battenburg, an officer in the English Navy, married the eldest daughter of the late Princess Alice of England.  Another brother, Prince Alexander of Battenburg was... Prince of Bulgaria while Prince Henry married Princess Beatrice of England in July 1885.”


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