Summary

This walnut is a souvenir of the Women's Work Exhibition held at the Exhibition Building from 23 October to 30 November 1907. The nut holds a strip of photographic images of notable Melbourne landmarks including the Exhibition Building, the Town Hall, Parliament House, Collins Street, Princes Bridge, Botanical Gardens, Alexandra Avenue, Flemington Racecourse, Queen's Statue, Post Office, Coles Book Arcade.

The First Australian Exhibition of Women's Work showed over 16000 exhibits from Australia and around the world, designed to demonstrate the advance of women into new fields. Exhibits were not categorised into 'paid' and 'unpaid' work, in an effort to recognise the wide range of women's activities. The exhibition included display of arts and craft - painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, pottery, needlework (the most popular section, with over 7,000 examples on display), leatherwork, woodwork, spinning, weaving - alongside displays of laundry work, cooking and physical culture. There were also demonstrations of shorthand and typewriting, music, elocution, games and sports.

One of the most popular features of the Exhibition was the crèche, which allowed women to view the Exhibition while their children were cared for. Notably, the Exhibition was open to all women and girls resident in Australia, including Aboriginal women, at a time when Aboriginals were not enfranchised within the new Commonwealth.

Physical Description

A walnut shell that has been halved. It is hinged with a piece of wire and secured with a blue ribbon. Inside the shell is a pull-out strip of Images of Melbourne; the first image is that of the Exhibition Building. Attached to the wire hinge is a luggage label.

Significance

The museum only holds five souvenirs from the First Australian Women's Work Exhibition, held at the Exhibition Building in 1907: one postcard of a women's choir, one postcard of Lady Northcote (President of the Exhibition), a bowl, a cup and a notepad holder. This souvenir walnut with images of well-known Melbourne landmarks will make a significant addition to this small group. The handwritten message shows that the walnut was bought at the Exhibition specifically as a souvenir; the attached, addressed label indicates it was posted to England.

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