Embossed red leather bookmark commemorating the 'United Sunday Schools Demonstration' in St Kilda Road in 1901 to welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales to open the first Commonwealth Parliament in the Royal Exhibition Building.
SUNDAY SCHOOL DEMONSTRATION.
With three times three we coo-ee,
The Prince we meet again;
Our Princess May we welcome,
With heart and voice amain.
This was the welcome of the children of the Melbourne Sunday schools. The greeting came from over 30,000 youthful voices to the accompaniment of as many waving flags of diminutive size, held by the children. Probably not one of those who sang so lustily had witnessed the previous visit of his Royal Highness; or knew anything of it except as a traditional event, but the sentiment was a good and proper one all the same. The children were massed on the rising ground in the Domain, and apparently the long wait was not at all wearying. It was to most of them a huge picnic. They lunched on the grass, and filled in the intervening lime with games such as the juvenile heart delights in. At intervals something approaching order, was observed, and then songs, which have been in rehearsal for some weeks past, were sung under the baton of Mr. D. R. Davies, musical director, and to the lead of a united brass band of over a hundred instrumentalists under Bandmaster E; T. Code. A solo was also sung by Mr. H. J. Floyd. At all times the scene was an exceedingly animated one. Most of the children were attired in light costumes, and those in whose dress there was some color provided the necessary variety to make up a most picturesque scene. Probably there were nearly 35,000 adults and children at this spot. They occupied the frontage to St. Kilda-road, from Government House gates to the intersecting thoroughfare beyond. As the children were confined to the high ground, there was a green strip in front of them, and the dark green of the fir trees at the top of the slope made a most suitable background. Between these two lines of even coloring the children, with the easy freedom of youth, made perhaps as pretty a feature of the pageant as could be found anywhere in the whole route of the procession." (The Age, Tues 7 May 1901, p.6)
This tiny battered piece of ephemera recording the United Sunday School Demonstration of 1901 must once have been exceedingly common, however in the context of the growing collection that the Society has relating to the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne it has historic and social significance.
Inscriptions & Markings
"United Sunday Schools Demonstration, Melbourne Australia, Melbourne May 6 1901"