Richard Court

Richard Court

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    Premier unveils historic medal

    27/12/2000 3:34 PM
     
    27/12/00


      An important link to Western Australia’s early history has been unveiled today.

      Premier Richard Court and RSL representative Jim Dalton displayed for the first time the highly valued Military General Service Medal presented to Lieutenant Colonel Federick Chidley Irwin in 1848.

      Mr Court said the medal represented a physical link to the State’s early history and those who founded Western Australia.

      The Lt Col is depicted with Captains Stirling and Dance and Mrs Dance in the famous 1929 George Pitt Morison painting ‘The Foundation of Perth’, which shows Mrs Dance, axe in hand, symbolically cutting down a tree to mark the founding of the Swan River Colony.

      “The medal will give young Western Australians and future generations an insight into the lives of the people who pioneered the settlement of our State,” the Premier said.

      “The Government is very pleased to have secured the medal for display as part of the museum’s history collection.”

      Lt Col Frederick Chidley Irwin was one of the State’s founding fathers.

      He arrived in Fremantle as Captain in Command of 68 men of the 63rd regiment in 1829 after a long and distinguished military career which included fighting with British troops under Wellington in the Napoleonic wars.

      After a brief return to Britain, where he married, he returned to Western Australia as Commander of the WA Forces.

      The State’s history shows that Irwin served here for almost 20 years, twice acting as Governor between 1832 and ’33 and in 1847 and ’48 - once on behalf of Governor Stirling.

      Mr Court said the State was indebted to the RSL for highlighting the opportunity to purchase the medal.

      “The State was able to purchase the medal from Sotheby’s in London for the equivalent of just over $10,000,” the Premier said.

      The Military Service Medal, which included nine bars or clasps representing battles in which Irwin fought, came with two others - Irwin’s Crimea War Medal, awarded in 1854, and the Turkish Crimea Medal, 1855, both are believed to have belonged to his son.

      The medals will be on display at the Museum in the New Year.

      Media contact: Justine Whittome 9222 9475