View of the entrance to the Western Australian Court in the central temporary annexe on the eastern side of the main avenue 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 was constructed to house the courts of various countries, or to include larger items from countries already represented in the main Building.
The Western Australian Court was the smallest of all the Australian colonial courts, being slightly smaller than - and located next to - the Tasmanian Court. Despite its small scale, it was tastefully presented:
'The commissioners for Western Australia have realised the advantage of having their court nicely decorated and their exhibits well arranged. They have erected a wooden archway in front, on which is painted a design eminently appropriate to what was once best known as the Swan River Settlement - a black swan. The same design is also portrayed on a streamer of yellow silk above the archway, with the words Australie Occidentale and Western Australia inscribed on opposite sides. The walls of the court are very elegantly decorated, being tnited a pale lilac, and divided into oblong compartments, bordered with strips of green and salmon colour. Along the top of the walls is a blue and gilt border'.
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 the Western Australia Court.
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.
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.
Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), 09/1991
Place & Date Depicted
Printed in black ink on card below the photograph: '27. WESTERN AUSTRALIAN COURT. - FRONT VIEW.'
Type of item
Image Dimensions - Photograph
289 mm (Width), 236 mm (Height)
Dimensions of photograph only
'Western Australia', Argus Exhibition Supplement, 11 October 1880, p.22. On Ludovico Hart see: The Aust'n Photographic Journal, March 20 1896, p.56.
Buildings, Civic Mementoes, Exhibitions, Exhibitions: Melbourne International, 1880-1881, Keepsakes, Medal Presentations, Metalworking, Photography, Public Ceremonies, Royal Exhibition Building, Royal Exhibition Building Trustees, Royal Exhibition Building: History of Events, 1879-1899