Summary

View of the pavilion displaying Wertheim sewing machines in the German Court in the central temporary annexe on the eastern side of the temporary annexe 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. Although Germany had exhibition space in the eastern nave of the main Exhibition Buildings, they also had a larger court space in the temporary annexe, on the western side of the main avenue between France and Italy.

The sewing machine manufacturing firm formerly known as J. Wertheim exhibited under class 16, Apparatus and Processes for Sewing and for Making-up Clothing, under the company name of the German Sewing-Machine Factory, although the signage in the exhibition display still drew attention to the reputable name of Wertheim. Situated in the Germany Court on the western side of the temporary annexe, their exhibit was housed within a small, raised pavilion constructed in a Mughal style.

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 a temporary annexe in the German court. Shows the display of Wertheim sewing machines in its purpose-built pavilion.

Physical Description

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.

Significance

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.

More Information