Historical information

A Report of the Commissioners, presented to Parliament in 1891, noted that: ‘The great Musical Festival, which was inaugurated and maintained during the time the Exhibition was open, was such as had never before been attempted. In that comparatively short period, no less than 263 orchestral, grand choral, and other concerts were given by the Centennial Orchestra and Choir, numbering nearly 800 performers, under the conductorship of Mr. F. H. Cowen. At these concerts the works of the great masters were performed in a manner hitherto unknown in these colonies, and your Commissioners are encouraged to hope that the stimulus given through their agency to the study of Music will prove strong and lasting. They also desire to return their thanks to the ladies and gentlemen composing the Centennial Choir, who devoted much time to the rehearsal and performance of the great choral works given during the Festival, and whose valuable services were rendered gratuitously.'

Physical description

An illuminated certificate inscribed to Miss L. Wilson in ‘recognition of valuable services rendered as a member of the Centennial Choir during the currency of the Centennial International Exhibition, Melbourne 1888’. The illuminated certificate lists a number of works performed by the choir, at left, and also pictorial roundels of the exterior of the Exhibition Building and of its grand organ. Attached to the card on which the certificate is also attached is a separate Memorandum from the Music Business Manager to Miss Wilson. No other correspondence is extant to explain the reason for her request.

Inscriptions & markings

Inscription: To Miss L. Wilson / In recognition of valuable services / rendered as a Member of / The Centennial Choir / during the currency of the / Centennial International/ Exhibition, Melbourne 1888. Separate Memorandum: CENTENNIAL INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION MEMORANDUM FROM EXHIBITION BUILDINGS FITZROY 8/10/1888 E. MILLER (MUSIC BUSINESS MANAGER) TO Miss Wilson Dear Madam In answer to your note I have the honor to inform you that you may remove your dress at any time, though you may need to show your choir pass & may have to submit to parcel being looked at - as the Customs officers are obliged to keep a very careful watch on any outgoing parcels. Yours obediently E. Miller