Jubilee Grant

Dublin Core


Jubilee Grant


Benevolent Asylum, celebration, civilisation, colony, commemoration, criminal class, gala, improvement, indigent, jubilee, Legislative Council, literature, medieval past, “medieval-ism”, modernity, poor house, print, progress, public library, literacy, Queen Victoria, reading, reformatory, reading practices, Victorian era, Western Australia, medievalism


In this article, the author debates how £5000 earmarked for a Queen’s Jubilee commemoration by the WA Legislative Council could be best spent. The author begins by outlining the three suggestions that had been put forward, namely the establishment of a public library, the building of a poor house that would euphemistically be called a “Benevolent Asylum”, or a festive gala for the colony with a banquet and fireworks. The author then goes to lengths to discount the utility of the gala idea, and the appropriateness and representative benefit of the reformatory idea, before suggesting that the building of a public library would best suit the occasion. For its capacity to humanise, cultivate and civilise, the article links the practice of reading with modernity and the Victorian ideals of progress and improvement. In doing so, it defines the Victorian ‘spirit’ in opposition to an ‘other’, medieval past: “From the introduction of printing is dated the decay of medieval-ism and the rise of modern European progress. To the introduction of cheap and wholesome literature may the marvellous onward march of the Victorian era be chiefly attributed. How better can the Jubilee of that era be perpetuated than by founding an institution which embodies above all the spirit to which that success is due.”




National Library of Australia


Western Mail


11 September 1886, p.22


Western Mail


Newspaper Article



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