View of the entrance to the Queensland Court in the central temporary annexe on the eastern side of the main avenue at the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition held at the Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, between 1 October 1880 and 30 April 1881.
In addition to the main permanent Exhibition Building, two permanent annexes as well as a large, central wooden temporary annexe were constructed to house the courts of various countries, or to include larger items from countries already represented in the main Building.
The main avenue was the central corridor that extended through the temporary annexes, leading northwards from the main permament Exhibition Buildings. Many of the major European countries had their courts situated on the western side of the main avenue, while the eastern side included exhibits from smaller countries and from other Australian colonies. The Queensland Court was situated about halfway along the main avenue, between the courts of New Zealand and Japan.
Although Queensland was allocated a difficult space in which to exhibit their produce, being long and narrow and in an area of the annexes where the roof was supported by a double row of pillars, it was noted that they used the area effectively . One of the primary features of their display can be seen in the entrance to the court, and was praised by the Argus newspaper:
'The most novel and striking object that arrests attention, in fact one of the landmarks of the Exhibition, is a large pyramidal trophy, composed entirely of the shells of the pearl oyster. These are from the Torres Straits fisheries, and though of course deprived of that which constitutes the chief vaue of the oysters, the pearl itself, this trophy is estimated to be worth £200, as the shells are used for making the small buttons that are so necessary an adjunct of shirts and other underclothing.'
This is one of sixty-one photographs in a presentation photograph album titled '1880 Melbourne International Exhibition' presented to Thomas B. Hill. Hill was the Assistant Secretary of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. This leather bound album was given to Hill, and all the Exhibition Commissioners, by the Exhibition Trustees. The photographer is believed to be Ludovico Hart, acting on a private commission from the Exhibition Trustees.
Description of Content
International Exhibition at Exhibition Building, Melbourne, 1880: interior view showing the Queensland Court.
Monochrome, gold-toned, silver gelatin photograph in a black leather bound album with decorative gold tooled border and gold tooled lettering in centre of front cover. Inside, 61 monochrome photographic plates showing exterior and interior views of the 1880 International Exhibition, held at the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne. Each photograph is mounted on heavy buff coloured card and has a simple black line border with a title beneath the photograph.
The Royal Exhibition Building has played an important role in Melbourne's social commercial and sporting life since it was built for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. The building's size and scale provide us with a physical example of 'boom-time' Melbourne in 1880. The international exhibitions of the late 1800s provided the fledgling Australian colonies with a forum in which to showcase their progress in commerce and industry to the world. This album is significant for its detailed visual record of the first international exhibition held in Melbourne. It has clear views of the colonial & international courts, as well as specific prominent exhibits. It also provides a contemporary view of the Exhibition Building interior and exterior in the year it was constructed.
Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), 09/1991
Place & Date Depicted
Printed in black ink on card below the photograph: '25. QUEENSLAND COURT. - FRONT VIEW. - MAIN AVENUE.'
Type of item
290 mm (Width), 233 mm (Height)
Dimensions of photograph only
On Ludovico Hart see: The Aust'n Photographic Journal, March 20 1896, p.56. On the Queenland Court's displays see: Argus Exhibition Supplement, 6 October 1880, p. 14.
Buildings, Civic Mementoes, Colonial Produce, Exhibitions, Exhibitions: Melbourne International, 1880-1881, Keepsakes, Medal Presentations, Photography, Public Ceremonies, Royal Exhibition Building, Royal Exhibition Building Trustees, Royal Exhibition Building: History of Events, 1879-1899