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Medal - National Agricultural Society of Victoria, First Prize, Victoria, Australia, 1888-1889 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 17886

Summary:
Medal awarded by National Agricultural Society of Victoria, 1st Prize, for light dry red wine to Hans W.H. Irvine, owner of the Great Western winery, 1888-1889.

The National Agricultural Society of Victoria (now known as Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria), formed in 1870 from the Port Phillip Farmers' Society. Farmers' societies were formed with the intention of improving agricultural practices to meet the needs of a steadily increasing Australian population. The newly formed National Agricultural Society of Victoria set up a new show site at Emerald Hill in South Melbourne. The show moved to Ascot Vale in 1882, where shows are held to this day. The National Agricultural Society of Victoria (now known as Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria) was formed in 1870 from the Port Phillip Farmers' Society. Farmers' societies were formed with the intention of matching farming methods with the needs of a steadily increasing Australian population. In 1870 the National Agricultural Society of Victoria set up a new show site at Emerald Hill in South Melbourne. The current showgrounds in Ascot Vale were established in 1882, and have been the base for the Royal Melbourne Show ever since.

In May 1890 Queen Victoria assented to the use of the 'Royal' prefix by the Society in recognition of its ongoing contribution to the improvement of agriculture. The Society then became the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and the Show, the Royal Melbourne Show. -Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria web site http://www.rasv.com.au/; Essendon Network for Employment, Education and Training web site http://www.enet.org.au/historyonline/mccracken/peter.htm; Glyn Rimmington, University of Melbourne, web site http://rimmo.mur.csu.edu.au/rimmo/hyperbook/5/5.4.html.

Hans William Henry Irvine, born in Melbourne in 1856, was a successful vigneron and politician, and was known as the 'wine king of Australia'. His largest holding was the Great Western winery, which he owned from 1888-1918. In the early 1890s Irvine purchased two-thirds of the produce of local vignerons, much of which was distilled into his brandy. He also became known for his claret, hock, chablis, burgundy, hermitage, sparkling hock and sparking burgandy. He was an effective self-promoter, and in 1982 entertained the Victorian governor in lavish style. He also pioneered wine advertising. Irvine was particularly interested in the science of wine-making, and used the latest technologies in his cellars. These contributed to his success at a time when so many other Victorian wine-makers were struggling.

In 1892 he was commissioned by the Victorian minister of agriculture to write a report on the Australian wine trade. Two years later he suggested a conference of vignerons to discuss problems facing the industry, and supported the proposal for a college of viticulture and the introduction of phylloxera-resistant American root stocks. He encouraged industry self-regulation through an elected board, the establishment of regional wineries and cheaper finance for investors in the wine industry. He travelled to Europe several times to learn wine-making techniques and arrange sales.
Description:
A silver prize medal (35 mm diameter) of the National Agricultural Society of Victoria awarded to Hans Irvine for red wine in 1889; it features Victoria standing facing holding a block of butter and surrounded by agricultural scene
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 35 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 32.30 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: agriculture, wine
Themes this item is part of: Great Western Winery Timeline 1858-1922, Hans William Henry Irvine, Vigneron & Politician (1856-1922), Public Life & Institutions Collection, Sustainable Futures Collection
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Civil
Tertiary Classification: agricultural prizes
Series: Australian Agricultural Medals
DateEra: 1888-1889 AD
Obverse Description: Victoria standing facing holding a block of butter and surrounded by agricultural scene which includes two horses, two sheep a bull a plough and a traction Engine
Reverse Description: Around wreath of wheat; NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA; within, AWARDED / TO / Hans W.H. Irvine / FIRST PRIZE / RED WINE / LIGHT DRY / 1888 - 89
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: Reverse: NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA AWARDED TO Hans W.H. Irvine FIRST PRIZE RED WINE LIGHT DRY 1888 - 89
Material: Silver
Issued By: National Agricultural Society of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1888-1889

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