Publication titled in full 'Illustrated Official Handbook to the Aquarium, Picture Galleries and Museum Collections under the control of the Exhibition Trustees, also description of Cyclorama of Old Melbourne', compiled by James E. Sherrard, Exhibition Trustees secretary, consisting of 119 pages, and printed by Robert S. Brain, Government Printer, circa 1894.

The covering pages include a fold-out 'Ground Plan of Exhibition Building & Grounds', depicting the grand stand and bicycle track in the quadrangle on the northern side of the building, between the two machinery annexes, the location of the Aquarium and Fernery in the south-eastern corner of the quadrangle, and the picture galleries, museum and cyclorama of Melbourne in 1842 in the Eastern Machinery Annexe.

Although undated, a comment made on page 99 suggests that contributing author, Edmund Finn, writing as 'Garryowen', was writing his section in 1892, while the Launceston Examiner, writing in January 1894, commented on having just received from Sherrard a copy of the Official Handbook: 'The work is profusely illustrated with cuts of the principal inhabitants of the aquarium, and contains also a description of the cyclorama of Old Melbourne, forming both useful and entertaining reading'.

Museum Victoria holds three copies of a similar catalogue, of different dates, in the Rare Book Section of the Museum Library.

The cover of this copy is embossed in gold in the upper left corner with the name of the Hon LL Smith MP, Chairman of the Exhibition Trustees. A typed note adhered to a covering page explains that the book was presented to the Exhibition Trustees on 24 May 1978 by a Mrs N. Gourlay of Mount Eliza, Victoria.

Physical Description

Rectangular book with black hard cover embossed with gold text on front. Leather bound. Extensive text and illustrations throughout. Decorative inside cover of orange, blue, gold, maroon, black and yellow. 119 pages. At the front, a fold-out map showing site layout of the Exhibition Building, with location of Aquarium. The text gives details and illustrations of the various fish to be seen at the Aquarium, as well as information relating to the Museum and the Cyclorama. Gilt pages.

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