View from the northern balcony in the western nave looking west towards the Grand Organ and the orchestra and choir arranged on the temporary dais erected in front of it during the official opening of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition held at the Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, on Friday, 1 October 1880.

This is one of three photographs of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition acquired by Museum Victoria as a group in 2006. Although the photographer remains unidentified, in style and subject, the images share strikingly similarities to another group of twenty-six images of the Exhibition bound within a photograph album. All three images have a number in black pen written in the upper left corner, this being number '21', and the card backing board shows signs that perhaps these photographs have been removed from an album. Likely photographs include J.W. Lindt, Charles Nettleton, Nicholas Caire, or the official exhibition photographer, Ludovico Hart, commissioned by the Exhibition Trustees to produce a series of photographs that were subsequently bound into presentation albums.

Description of Content

Sepia photographic print mounted on a card backing of the interior of the Great Hall of the Melbourne Exhibition Building during the opening ceremony for the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. The image is taken from the north-west balcony, looking west towards the Grand Organ, with a large choir and orchestra mounted on the temporary dais erected in front of the organ. Crowds of people can be seen immediately in front of the dais, and on the south-western balcony areas, where some exhibits - possibly those relating to the German picture galleries that were installed in this area - can be seen covered by cloth. The photograph has been pasted onto a cardboard backing and the caption 'Melbourne Exhibition, Opening Ceremony' is written in pencil at the base. The photograph appears to have been part of a larger album on thick card pages that has been split. The number '21' has been written in black ink in the upper left corner.

Physical Description

Sepia print of a photograph mounted on card with a caption handwritten below the print.


These are previously unknown images of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition, taken by an unknown photographer. The Museum already owns a number in this series, in the album HT 1528, and these were purchased to supplement that set. They provide additional detail about displays and interior decoration at the time, with great detail of the stage and choir stalls at the opening ceremony.

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