Written by Garnet Walch with illustrations by Charles Turner, 'Victoria in 1880' was published to coincide with the Melbourne International Exhibition, held in the Exhibition Buildings at Carlton Garden between 1 October 1880 and 30 April 1881. This copy was presented to the President of the Exhibition Commissioners, William John Clarke.

William Clarke was born in Tasmania in 1831 to pastoralist and landowner William John Turner Clarke. After schooling in Hobart and England William junior helped manage his father's estates in Tasmania and Victoria. After his father's death in 1874 William junior inherited the family's Victorian properties, making him the largest landowner in Victoria at the time. Politically conservative and public spirited Clarke became socially prominent following his father's death, supporting numerous charities, sporting and philanthropic enterprises and representing Southern Province in the Legislative Council from 1878-1897.

As President of the Melbourne International Exhibition Board of Commissioners, William Clark was present at the laying of the foundation stone for the new Exhibition Building in February 1879. In the speech he gave on that occasion, Clarke reflected that the prosperous and well-built city that stood before him had not existed when he was born yet now it stood equal to all the foremost cities of the world. Melbourne's wealth, civilisation and greatness were themes which in all of Clarke's addresses during the tenure of the 1880 Exhibition (and are prominent themes in Walch's book 'Victoria in 1880'). Clarke's presidency of the Melbourne International Exhibition was deemed a success; he was praised for his conciliatory demeanor, ability to get the commissioners to work together and continuous devotion of his time. In 1882 Clarke was appointed a baronet for his services as president of the Melbourne International Exhibition, and for his prominence as a colonist.

Physical Description

Hard bound book, 215 gilt edged pages, with embossed leather cover depicting the Royal Exhibition Building in gold. A presentation certificate has been inserted after the title page.

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