A Gift for the Queen: Andrew Lenehan’s Casket, Yvonne Barber

Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
Article from Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023

A Gift for the Queen: Andrew Lenehan’s Casket, Yvonne Barber


Zealous colonists wanted those ‘at home’ to know how economically successful the British colonies in Australia had become. When gold was found in 1851, the Governor of New South Wales sent specimens of the first gold, in boxes made using selected colonial timbers by Irish-born cabinetmaker Andrew Lenehan, to their young Queen. The gifts arrived soon after the close of Prince Albert’s enormously successful ‘Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.’ Queen Victoria accepted the gifts which found their way to Osborne, the Queen’s summer house on the Isle of Wight. There they languished, the gold vanished, and their significance in the discovery of gold in Australia was apparently forgotten – until now.

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The Australiana Society acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.