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Medal - Melbourne Hebrew School Marine Excursion, New South Wales, Australia, 1880 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 20868

This Melbourne Hebrew School Marine Excursion copper medal was given to pupils in 1880. It names school president N. Levi - Nathaniel Levi (1830-1908), sometime president of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, Board of Jewish Education and the Zionists' Board; also a businessman and Victoria's first Jewish parliamentarian.

When Nathaniel Levi became President of the school, he marked occasion by paying for the school's annual picnic. He arranged a special treat: a boat excursion to Queenscliff on 29 December 1880. Children from other schools probably joined in the fun - the first picnic at Brighton Beach had attracted 380 children, although attendances at the school peaked at 200 and by 1880 only about 130 attended the Melbourne Hebrew School. To commemorate the excursion to Queenscliff, Levi had a medal struck and given to the pupils - of which this medal is one. (Goldman, 1954, The Jews in Victoria in the Nineteenth Century)

The Melbourne Hebrew School was established as a day school in 1874, for both Jewish and non-Jewish children. It was essentially a primary school providing general and Hebrew studies, but in 1876 two pupils sat for university examinations. The school struggled for several years with fluctuating pupil numbers, competition from other schools (particularly the East Melbourne Hebrew School), and issues such as the proportions of religious and secular education. It finally closed in 1895, succumbing in the midst of a severe economic depression that effected the ability of many families to pay fees. (Aron & Arndt, 1992, The Enduring Remnant)

This medal was previously held in the collection of George McArthur, Maldon.
Copper medal, 22mm diameter, with hole pierced at top for hanging. The obverse features the head of a youthful Queen Victoria facing left, wearing a coronet (featuring stars) and necklace; clover below head. Inscribed on both sides.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 22 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 4.84 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: economic depression 1890s, education, religions
Themes this item is part of: Melbourne Hebrew School, Victoria, 1874-1886, George McArthur, Collector & Baker (1842-1903), Childhood & Youth Collection, Cultural Diversity Collection, Numismatics & Philately Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection, HM Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Stokes & Son, Medal Makers, Melbourne, Victoria & Sydney, New South Wales, Thomas Stokes, Token & Medal Maker (1831-1910)
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Commemorative
Tertiary Classification: education
Series: Australian Historical Medals
DateEra: 1880 AD
Obverse Description: Head of Queen Victoria facing left wearing coronet (featuring stars) and necklace;
around, VICTORIA 1880 - 81;
clover below head; artist's initials, TS raised on neck
Reverse Description: around central legend; TO COMMEMORATE THE MARINE EXCURSION
at centre within seven lines, GIVEN BY / N. LEVI . PRESDT. / OF / MELBOURNE / HEBREW / SCHOOL / TO PUPILS / DEC 29 .1880 .
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: Obverse: around, 'VICTORIA 1880 - 81'. Artist's initials 'TS' raised on neck.

Reverse: around central legend 'TO COMMEMORATE THE MARINE EXCURSION'. At centre within seven lines, 'GIVEN BY / N. LEVI . PRESDT. / OF / MELBOURNE / HEBREW / SCHOOL / TO PUPILS / DEC 29 .1880 .'
Shape: round
Material: Copper
Issued By: New South Wales, Australia, 1880
Mint: Stokes & Martin, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1880
Artist: Thomas Stokes, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1872
Commissioned By: Melbourne Hebrew School
Person Depicted: HM Queen Victoria
Person Named: Nathaniel Levi - Melbourne Hebrew School
References: Not listed in Carlisle 1983

Joseph Aron and Judy Arndt, 1992. The enduring remnant: The first 150 years of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation 1841-1991, esp. pp 286-295.

Diary of Nathaniel Levi, kept on board the ship 'Matilda Wattenbach" on a voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne, December 7th 1853 to April 27th 1854. State Library of Victoria MS 8021. The State Library of Victoria also holds other works by or relating to Nathaniel Levi.

Lazarus Morris Goldman, 1954. The Jews in Victoria in the nineteenth century, esp. p.252.

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