Queen Victoria's Death Queen Victoria's reign, lasted 63 years, from 1837 to 1901. She ascended the throne of Great Britain, when she was 18. Despite being the Queen of Britain, and a very influential and prominent person, she also had an impact on Australian history. In Australia the most apparent legacy of Queen Victoria's reign is manifested in the names of the two states, Victoria and Queensland. There are also a large number of other important buildings and places, named in her honor such as, the Queen Victoria Building, in Sydney. Victoria was loved and respected by her subjects, and Australian society at the time was affected greatly by the loss of their beloved Queen.
An example of the affection and grief felt by the Australian people is apparent in the following poem, written by J D Horne of Castlemaine, Victoria." Who can recall to memory the life Of one so loved, so dear -A devoted mother, Queen and wife A friend when few drew near -And not in silent agony Be melted into tears. A nation weeps her, The whole world mourns her... Dead, did I say? Ah! No! She lives In every loving heart. A nation's grief is not assuaged -No time can heal the smart. She lives forever, and her deeds Will live in memory too, And history recount her praise For all the ages through.
For never monarch lived on earth So worthy of our song... ." The Victorian era, as it became known, was the time of Queen Victoria's reign. Victoria's death signaled the end of an era. It was a rich and significant period in Britain, which had a positive influence on Australia also. It saw profound social changes culminating in the rise of the middle class, population growth, and an increase in wealth. Victoria was Queen and so it was seen as a product of her reign and so the love for her increased.
Victoria's death created a feeling of insecurity and uncertainty of what would result. However, it also created the feeling of opportunity and a new beginning. "There was a sense not only in London but in all the capitals of the world that an age had come to an end, a stronger sense than there had been when the 19 th century itself drew to a close." (1). There were mixed feelings with the end of Victoria's reign.
At the time Australian culture still revolved around Britain and most Australian's were either born in Britain, or had relatives residing there. Victoria was the Queen of Great Britain for such a long time period that by the time of her death no one under the age of 60 remembered another sovereign's reign. This meant that the vast majority of Australians had great sentimental attachment to Victoria, although they did not look negatively on the coming reign of Edward VII. This is supported by this quote from Encarta, "For most of her subjects, an age seemed to have come to an end, and for all the sorrowful tributes there were many people who looked forward not only to a new reign but a new future." (1). On 9 July 1900, Queen Victoria proclaimed the Commonwealth of Australia to come into being on 1 st January 1901. Federation unified Australia as a country.
Both Victoria and Britain supported this, which intensified the love felt for their Queen. Australia was still very British based at the time of federation, so royal support from Britain, encouraged federation to occur. A link between the people of Australia and Queen Victoria had grown and developed during the 10 years of the federation process with the decline of radical nationalism in Australia. In 1901, there was a real and deep affection for Queen Victoria, the spectacular Diamond Jubilee of 1897 and with the ageing of the Queen herself. As her personal power and strength declined, public attachment to the monarchy increased. Previous critics grew nervous of appearing to insult a worthy, now frail, old woman, who was also a mother and grandmother.
Above all, the Queen was represented as a symbol of peace and goodness, and as a universal and loving mother. This is why her death was taken particularly bad in Australia, and all Australians felt it personally. Queen Victoria died only three weeks after the celebration of Australia's nationhood. This meant that affection for the Queen was particularly high, so the grief was intensified.
The Sydney Mail reported that the severity of her illness had been played down so as not to spoil the celebration. The Australian Economy in the early 19 th century was largely dependant on primary production, especially it's wool industry and it's exports. Britain was it's main export market for wool and foreign investments. During the end of Victoria's reign, Australia had one of the highest standards of living in the world. Victoria represented Britain, so the appreciation of the advantages which Britain gave Australia, was diverted to her. Victoria's death symbolized the decline of the British Empire.
After her death the British Empire was weakened greatly. They had lost a great leader, although by the time of her death, the monarch's executive power was limited, although, the Queen was a powerful national symbol for the people. Both the decline of the British Empire and federation, distanced Britain from Australia and it became a less British based society. After her death many people felt their connection with Britain was weakened. For many Australians at that time, especially those not born in Britain, they felt they had lost their connection with Britain because Victoria had been the reigning monarch for over half of the century.
In conclusion, Queen Victoria was a prominent British monarch whose death impacted greatly on Australian history at the turn of the 19 th century. Although most of the effects were psychological ones, her death also had repercussions in political and economical aspects of society. Some of these effects are still evident today. Annotated Bibliography Queen Victoria, Walter L. Arn stein, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, September 2003. This book had good information about Queen Victoria, however little of this was relevant for the essay topic.
Farewell in Splendour: The Passing of Queen Victoria and Her Age, Jerrold M. Packard, E P Dutton Publishers, January 1995. This book had relevant information about Queen Victoria's death and it's affect, not much of this was about its affect on Australia. The Life and Times of Victoria (Kings and Queens of England Series), Dorothy Marshall, Cross River Publishers, August 1992. This book had good illustrations, however it had limited information on the topic. web guides / guides /royalty / chapter 01.
htm, Chapter 1 Queen Victoria, Kate Cummings, December 1998. This site was particularly appropriate for my topic and had good, relevant information and good illustrations. It also had good quotes from people of the time period. web Queen Victoria.
This site had good information of Victoria's life, although it had limited information on her death and it's impacts. web The Crown and Federation, Helen Irving, February 1999. This site has excellent and relevant information on Queen Victoria and her part in federation and Australian society. Microsoft'O Encarta'O, Reference Library 2002. 'O 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation This Encyclopedia was particularly helpful. It had reliable and detailed information, on federation, the Victorian era, the British Empire, Queen Victoria's life and the role she played in Australian Society..