Glass negative stereograph showing crowds in Swanston street, with the Chinese Arch in the background. It is part of the G. H. Myers Collection which consists of 73 photographs taken by Godfrey Henry Myers, an electrician and amateur photographer, in Melbourne during May 1901. 72 of these photographs depict preparations for the celebrations that surrounded Federation; all but one are glass stereographs. This collection represents Myers' one venture into commercial photography. It is significant for its images of the crowds, which do not feature so prominently in commercial photographs. The remaining photograph is a family portrait.

The opening of the Australian Parliament on May 9 1901 was an occasion for great celebrations in Melbourne. Ten days of festivities (from 6-16 May) were planned to mark the Federation of the new nation and honour the Royal visitors, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. The city was transformed with decorations - flags, bunting, colourful lights and festive arches - and a series of public events were held, including a military tattoo and several street parades. Unprecedented numbers of people arrived in Melbourne from the rest of Victoria and throughout Australia to take part in the celebrations.

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Crowds in Swanston Street, Federation Celebrations, Melbourne, May 1901. Most of the crowd are walking north up Swanston Street as is the Cable tram travelling underneath the Chinese Arch. It looks like the crowd is dispersing, going home after a parade. One man is on his bicycle. With few cars in existence, the Cable trams full, and most bicycles left at home, the only option would be to walk. A line of 'Venetian' poles line the parade route, between the poles are strung lines of bunting. The Chinese Arch was designed by a Western architect, George Austin, the arch reproduced pagoda architecture as depicted on the familiar willow-pattern plate. The arch, funded by the Chinese community, had tiers of red tiles and covered in splendidly coloured silks and adorned with hanging (unlit) lanterns and silk banners. At night a Chinese band playing traditional music played in the band room over the central arch. Musicians playing gongs accompanied them from the towers.

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