Paul Budde
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    His personal interest is in medieval North Western Europe. Also covered is the local history of Bucketty, NSW, Australia.

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Prince of Orange honoured in Orange

  

When we arrived in Australia in 1983 I was aware that there was a Dutch connection with the city of Orange (named by the Surveyor General Thomas Mitchell after his friend the Prince of Orange). However, apart from the interested history buffs, very few knew about this Dutch connection. 

 On one of our early explorations of New South Wales, with great anticipation, we visited Orange. To my disappointment, not only was there no commemoration of the Prince but, to my dismay, the Tourism Office didn’t even know that their city was named after this Dutch Prince. 

 Nothing much changed during subsequent years because when we visited Orange in 2005 I basically got the same response. However, someone overheard my question at the Tourism Office and told me about a winery called ‘Prince of Orange’. 

 That was interesting, and that is how we got to know Coral and Harald Brodersen – she an Aussie and he a Dane! 

 And these two people have single-handedly put Prince Willem of Orange on the map in Orange. They have established an excellent relationship with the Dutch community in Australia, especially with the Dutch Ambassador and the Consul General of NSW. Coral has also presented a case of their wine to the present Prince of Orange, Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima. 

 Apart from their wines the winery is also renowned for its annual dinners. 

The theme of the 2008 event was the life and work of Sir Thomas Mitchell; most probably Australia’s most important Surveyor General. 

 Being the chairman of the Convict Trail Project (which looks after the convict-built Great North Road between Sydney and Newcastle, a road that was surveyed by Mitchell in 1828) I was doubly interested in attending this dinner. 

 Mitchell had met Prince Willem of Orange (the later King Willem II) during the Napoleonic Wars, where they were both assigned as aides-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington. The Prince and his family had fled the Netherlands after Napoleon had invaded his country and lived in exile, first in Germany and then in the UK. 

 Thomas Mitchell and the Prince were born in the same year, 1792. It was at the battlefields in Spain (Peninsula War 1811/1812 where the allied forces fought Napoleon) that the friendship between these two nineteen-year-old boys blossomed and when Mitchell surveyed the Central West of NSW in 1833 he named this place Orange in honour of his friend. 

 At the dinner the current Surveyor General of NSW, Warwick Watkins, presented Coral and Harald with two magnificent framed pictures – one of Prince Willem of Orange and one of Sir Thomas Mitchell. Henceforth these will be proudly on display at the winery. 

 Because of all their good work, the Dutch connection with Orange is now much more widely known in the city itself; as its Mayor John Davis said at the dinner. It provides both Australia and the Netherlands with a great new platform to build on the work of Coral and Harald. 

 The relationship opportunities between these communities that arise from here on will certainly be explored. I can envisage a Prince of Orange display at the museum, perhaps a statue of the Prince and some heritage and tourism activities that will encourage both Australians and Dutch tourists to visit. Equally I wouldn’t be surprised if people from Orange, while travelling to Europe, are motivated to find out more about this Prince, and later King, of the Netherlands after which their town has been named. 

Thomas Mitchell honoured in Orange

 

With my Dutch background and interest in history I have of course always been interested in the NSW city of Orange. 

 When we arrived in Australia in 1983 I was aware that there was a Dutch connection with the city of Orange (named by the Surveyor General Thomas Mitchell after his friend the Prince of Orange). However, apart from the interested history buffs, very few knew about this Dutch connection. 

 On one of our early explorations of New South Wales, with great anticipation, we visited Orange. To my disappointment, not only was there no commemoration of the Prince but, to my dismay, the Tourism Office didn’t even know that their city was named after this Dutch Prince. 

 Nothing much changed during subsequent years because when we visited Orange in 2005 I basically got the same response. However, someone overheard my question at the Tourism Office and told me about a winery called ‘Prince of Orange’. 

 That was interesting, and that is how we got to know Coral and Harald Brodersen – she an Aussie and he a Dane! 

 And these two people have single-handedly put Prince Willem of Orange on the map in Orange. They have established an excellent relationship with the Dutch community in Australia, especially with the Dutch Ambassador and the Consul General of NSW. Coral has also presented a case of their wine to the present Prince of Orange, Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima. 

 Apart from their wines the winery is also renowned for its annual dinners. And they have extended their attention to the other great man behind this city. 

The theme of the 2008 event was the life and work of Sir Thomas Mitchell; most probably Australia’s most important Surveyor General. 

 Mitchell had met Prince Willem of Orange (the later King Willem II) during the Napoleonic Wars, where they were both assigned as aides-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington. The Prince and his family had fled the Netherlands after Napoleon had invaded his country and lived in exile, first in Germany and then in the UK. 

 Thomas Mitchell and the Prince were born in the same year, 1792. It was at the battlefields in Spain (Peninsula War 1811/1812 where the allied forces fought Napoleon) that the friendship between these two nineteen-year-old boys blossomed and when Mitchell surveyed the Central West of NSW in 1833 he named this place Orange in honour of his friend. 

 At the dinner the current Surveyor General of NSW, Warwick Watkins, presented Coral and Harald with two magnificent framed pictures – one of Prince Willem of Orange and one of Sir Thomas Mitchell. Henceforth these will be proudly on display at the winery. 

 At the dinner I met Edward “Ted” Sly, the great great grandson of Sir Thomas Mitchell, from Mitchell’s daughter Camilla Mann (nee Mitchell). They are all long ‘livers’. Ted is 90 and his mother was also 90 before she died. So there is nearly a first-hand connection with the great ‘Explorer General’ 

 At the event Warwick Watkins provided his support for the Convict Trail Project and was happy to link his name to the good  work that is done by this organisation. 

More information: 

Winery: www.princeoforangewines.com.au 

Background Prince Willem of Orange (Wikepedia): 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_II_of_the_Netherlands 

Background Sir Thomas Mitchell (Wikepedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Thomas_Mitchell