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The VA Challenge Shield 1889-1899

Below the centrepiece dish is a “title plate” with the engraving “The Battle of the Amazons”.  This dish was designed by Antoine Vechte and was first exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.  It features the story of the mythic Theseus, the King Arthur of Grecian history, and his conquest of the Amazons, and of his bearing away of their leader, Hippolyta, to be his Athenian bride.  There is a second “title plate” lower down on the timber with the engraving “VA Challenge Shield”.    This shield was used as the winning prize in artillery shooting competitions at Fort Queenscliff in the 1890’s as described in a Melbourne Argus newspaper article in 1895.   On the second “title plate” the winners of the shield are listed as “C Division  1889; B Division 1890, HQ Division 1891; No. 2 Company 1893, 94, 95, 96, 99; and No 1 Company 1897”.  The story behind the shield came to light after the discovery of this small photograph of a group of Victorian Artillery standing around a muzzle-loading gun.