Carrington albums – illuminated addresses

A jewel in our collection

On 2nd January 2014 State Records NSW (predecessor to Museums of History NSW ), received 22 Presentation albums from the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.

The Carrington Albums were gifted by the family of Third Lord Charles Robert Carrington, who served as Governor of NSW from the 12 December 1885 to the 3 November 1890.

14 bound albums of illuminated addresses were presented to Lord Carrington in 1890 whilst he was Governor of NSW.

The addresses to the Carringtons were both a sign of affection of the people and a memento of the visit. They are believed to have been given as individual gifts and presents to Lord and Lady Carrington from the communities they visited throughout their 5 year term as Vice Regals.

Later all the addresses were gathered and bound together into volumes for the Governor which he took back to England when he left NSW at the end of his term.

They contain greetings, pictures and well-wishes from hundreds of residents, towns and associations from across the State.

Governor of New South Wales

The appointment of Lord Carrington* as Governor of NSW was described by the Sydney Morning Herald on 11th June 1885 as ‘most auspicious’ and the article highlighted

the fact that Lord Carrington is a nobleman, a friend of the Prince of Wales, a cousin of Lord Rosebery, and a personage at Court.1

This ‘most auspicious’ appointment attracted much ceremony in NSW and as a consequence saw the creation of highly decorative illuminated addresses and photograph albums to be officially presented to the Governor.

During his time as Governor of NSW it was said Lord Carrington, aided by his wife, re-established the opulence of Government House and the grandeur of the office of Governor.2

Upon conclusion of his time as Governor, Sydney gave Lord and Lady Carrington an unprecedented farewell, with thousands lining the streets and showering their carriage with flowers. In a parting speech, Carrington declared they were

guests who found their welcome at once an adoption, and whose farewell leaves half their hearts behind.3

Highlights from Volume 4

All the albums feature tooled leather binding, gilt edged pages, and cloth hinged leaves.

Highlights from Volume 14

NRS 20455 - The volumes were held in the United Kingdom by the Carington family for many years before being given into the care of High Wycombe Library. Given the significance of the volumes to the state of NSW, the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies suggested that the volumes be repatriated to Australia and transferred to the State Archives Collection. 4

*Please note the Carington family name is spelled with one ‘r’ while the title Lord Carrington is spelt with two ‘r’s.


CSU Archives – public talk on the Carrington albums (The Daily Advertiser)

See series information in the catalogue for NRS 20455


  1. 1885 ‘NEWS OF THE DAY.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 2 December, p. 11, viewed 12 May, 2014,
  2. Rollo Gillespie, Viceregal Quarters: An Account of the Various Residences of the Governors of New South Wales from 1788 until the Present Day, Australia, Angus and Robinson Publishers, 1975, p 195
  3. A. W. Martin, ‘Carrington, Charles Robert (1843–1928)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 14 January 2014. Read more.
  4. 2014 ‘HISTORIC DOCUMENTS IN AYLESBURY BEING REPATRIATED TO AUSTRAILA’, Bucks Herald, 28th August 2014, viewed 12 May, 2014.
Plant your history

The flowery Lord Carrington addresses

It is easy to see why the Lord Carrington Addresses are appealing. They bear many hallmarks of illuminated manuscript design: chivalric language, elaborate calligraphy and initials, miniature illustrations, heraldry, rubrics and above all beautiful flora and fauna

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