Mounted stereograph showing the Fountain Arch illuminated at night, Federation Celebration, Flinders and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne, May 1901. This night time photograph captures the arch with its huge curve of golden lights looking like 'an arch of gold'. The 40,000 candle-power electric lights shining on the 40 jets of water kept changing their colours: purple, scarlet, green, violet and cerise. The streaks of light on the left would be caused by the lights of passing vehicles and the photograph's long exposure time. The bright lights on the right belong to a waiting horse cab.

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.

The subsequent addition of 14 printed stereograph photographs compliments the existing holding of Myer's glass stereograph negatives. 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 9 May 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.

Description of Content

Illuminated Fountain Arch, Federation Celebration, Flinders and Elizabeth streets, Melbourne, May 1901.

Physical Description

Black & white stereographic photograph mounted on cardboard backing printed with publisher details.


Commercially printed examples of amateur photographer G.H. Myers' stereographic photography, represented in the collections through a series of 72 stereograph glass negatives. They offer an interesting and rare representation of events and social activity at the time of Australian federation.

More Information