Royal visitors

His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, 1934

In 1934 His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester (later Governor-General of Australia) visited Australia for Victoria's centenary celebrations.

The University of Sydney conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws upon His Royal Highness at a ceremony held on 23 November 1934.

The Duke's arrival

Unprecedented scenes were witnessed at the Sydney University, when Prince Henry visited the Institution and had the degree of Doctor of Laws conferred upon him.

A rousing welcome was given the Duke followed by round upon round of cheering. Thousands congregated on the lawns and drives leading up to the University.

The Duke was received with the music of the carillon, the skirling of the pipes of the University regimental pipe band, and the cheers of a large crowd of undergraduates and others, assembled outside the building.

He arrived in ä closed car with his Chief of Staff, and one of his equerries.

The Chancellor (Sir William Cullen) greeted the Prince at the entrance to the Great Hall, attended by the Deputy Chancellor (Sir Mungo Maccallum), the Vice-Chancellor (Dr R S Wallace), and the full Senate and professorial staff.

The Prince, wearing formal dress, walked to the place of official reception, the centre of the drive, where he faced the crowd which awaited on the lawns.

He then took the salute from the Guard of Honour, drawn from the University Regiment.

The ceremony

When the Duke arrived the organist Mr. G. Faunce Allman played a march from "Sclpio" (Handel). Other numbers rendered on the organ were Fugue E flat (Bach), Adagio (Mozart), "Sweet Gothique" (Boellman), "Le Cygne" (St. Saens), and "Suite Ancienne'" (Holloway).

His Royal Highness, now wearing the scarlet gown lined with blue silk of a Doctor of Laws, was escorted to the dais in the Great Hall by the procession formed of the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, members of the professorial staff in their robes, and members of the Senate.

As the Prince mounted the dais in the Great Hall, the National Anthem was played on the grand organ by Mr. G. Faunce Allman, and men and women, including many undergraduates, thronged the hall, and stood on chairs the better to witness the ceremony.

On the left of the Chancellor was the Premier (Mr. Stevens,) and others on the dais included the Lord Mayor (Alderman Parker), the Minister for Education (Mr. Drummond), and members of the Senate, including the Deputy Chancellor, the Vice-chancellor; also Sir John Peden Sir Daniel Levy, Drs. C. Bickerton Blackburn, J. J. C. Bradfield, Constance D'Arcy, A. E. Mills, and C. Purser, Mr. Justice Halse Rogers, Judge Backhouse, Professors R. c. Mills, F. A. Todd, and R. D. Watt, and Messrs. A. M. Eedy, C Brunsdon Fletcher, F. Leverrier, E. M. Mitchell, J. Nangle, G. R. Thomas, and Miss Mary D. Kidd.

The Chancellor Sir William Cullen made a short speech of welcome to his Royal Highness.

The Vice-Chancellor then read an address of welcome, which was signed by the Chancellor, the Deputy Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, and the Registrar (Mr. W. A. Selle) - Read the welcome

The Chancellor then called for cheers, and within a moment the great hall echoed to the thunderous roar of three rounds of cheers.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law (the Hon Sir John Peden KC) presented His Royal Highness for admission to the LLD degree - Read the speech

The Prince briefly replied, speaking through the microphone of the amplifier - Read the reply

The Duke of Gloucester then stepped forward, and Sir William Cullen, addressing him, said: "In the name of the Senate and by
my authority as Chancellor I admit you to the degree of Doctor of Laws in this University. The Duke was excused from the customary requirement of the declaration that he would "obey the laws of the University so long as he held the degree."

Cheers for the King and his Royal Highness, called for by the Chancellor, concluded the ceremony.

The academic procession then returned from the Great Hall to the War Memorial Tower.

Following the conferring ceremony

Next came an inspection of the War Memorial Tablets.

His Royal Highness then took up a position on the dais in front of the Main Building. There he was met by the president of the Students' Representative Council (Mr. D. F. Lewis) and shook hands with other members of the council, consisting of eight representatives of the Undergraduates' Association, three of the Women Undergraduates' Association, three of the Evening Students' Association, and two of the Women Evening Students' Association.

The representatives of the Students' Representative Council who met the Duke were: The president (Mr. Lewis), Miss P. Littlejohn, Miss J. Humphreys, Miss J. Melville, Miss A. Beale, and Miss M. Booth, and Messrs. R. Le Gay Brereton, G. P. Campbell, R. EdclstenFix this text Pope, J. Bowie-Wilson, A. Q. Crawford, L. N. Thornton, W. H. Neild, J. L. Hardy, P. J. Kenny, J. C. Dive, R. W. Ellis, and E. O Moore.

The SRC president gave an address to the Duke on behalf of the Undergraduates - Read the address

This was followed by the Duke's reply - Read the reply

"The Carillon bells set up a lively peal, and the pipers again broke into a light scottish air as the Duke, with waving hand, departed mid the rousing cheers of the assemblage" (SMH) for the Prince of Wales Repatriation Hospital at Randwick.


The Vice-Chancellor's address of welcome

"May it please Your Royal Highness,

On four occasions within the brief span of a generation has our University of Sydney had the good fortune and honour of being able to tender respectful expression of its loyal duty to Members of the Royal House of Windsor. Beginning with Your Illustrious Father, our beloved King whom God preserve, we have been privileged later to greet in turn two of Your Royal Brothers, whose presence for a time in this outpost of Empire enhanced the dignity and importance of historic ceremonies.

Your own gracious visit, providing welcome opportunity for public act of homage, and renewing and strengthening in us the sense of Imperial unity, is an event which by its own supreme interest and memorable importance for this Commonwealth at large far outweighs the local significance of its occasion.

Our University, called as it was into corporate life by Royal Charter bearing the signature of our late revered Sovereign Her Majesty Queen Victoria, is conscious, in no ordinary degree, of this its precious tradition of connection with Members of the Royal House. To His Majesty the King, who graciously sanctioned your visit, we tender through Your Royal Highness our grateful thanks. To Your Royal Highness in person the Representatives of the University convey this respectful welcome and acknowledgment of your great kindness in undertaking the labours involved in your long journey to our distant shores, and in your all too brief sojourn amongst us. We pray also for your safety in your home-going, and for your future well-being and happiness through all your life. "

The Dean's speech

"Mr Chancellor,

The University has the honour of counting among its members His Majesty the King, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and His Royal Highness the Duke of York, all of whom hold its Degree of Doctor of Laws. In conferring these degrees the University welcomed the opportunity of giving token and assurance of loyalty to the throne and person of a Sovereign whose Crown links and unites the peoples of the British Empire, and of paying tribute to the service rendered by princes of the Royal Family on occasions memorable in the history of Australia.

Today the University desires to have the honour of adding to its roll of members the name of another royal prince. His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester has come to Australia in his turn as the representative of His Majesty the King, and has come to take part in the ceremonies and celebrations which, at the close of the first century of the history of Melbourne, recall the achievements and symbolise the hopes of a sister State of the Australian Commonwealth."

Reply by His Royal Highness

"I deeply appreciate the honour which the University has done me in conferring upon me its degree and I am sincerely grateful, Mr Chancellor, for your kind words of welcome. Having been an undergraduate, and later a graduate of Cambridge, I am all the more pleased to become also a graduate of Australia's oldest University.

As competition in all spheres of life grows ever more intense we may clearly appreciate the supreme value of developing education and character simultaneously. In this respect a University with the practical courses of instruction and the variety of physical exercises which it offers provides a unique opportunity, and it is small wonder, therefore, that a University education is now, perhaps, more widely sought than ever before.

Universities of the Empire can render a further service by the periodical interchange of Professors and scholars. From this will result the promotion of understanding and sympathy, a readier comprehension of the Empire's many-sided problems and the formation of a body of men and women well fitted and, it is to be hoped, willing to take their part in dealing with these problems. I sincerely hope that Sydney University will continue to flourish and to play its important part in the life of Australia and of the Empire."

Address of welcome by the SRC President, Mr D F Lewis

The undergraduates of the University of Sydney beg to join in welcoming you, on your visit to this the oldest British University beyond the seas, and on your admission to its membership. We recall with pride the visits to this University of his Majesty, the King, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York. We recognise with gratitude the active and arduous part which all the members of our Royal House have taken in promoting the welfare of the Empire, and we deeply appreciate the service which your Royal Highness is now rendering to Australia.

"We desire to assure you of our warm loyalty to his Majesty the King, and of our sincere hope that he may long reign over the British Commonwealth of Nations and the BritishFix this text Empire."

The Duke's reply to the undergraduates

"I am most grateful for the kind words with which you welcome me, and recall the earlier visits to the University of the members of my family.

I am delighted to meet you all to-day, and my pleasure is increased if possible by the satisfaction of having proceeded to the degree with a minimum of effort on my part.

I offer to you my best wishes, and I sincerely hope your more arduous duties will be crowned with similar success."