View of the western nave of the Exhibition Building, showing the organ, temporary dais and choir stalls erected for the official opening of the Melbourne International Exhibition (MIE) 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 matter the images share strikingly similarities to another group of twenty-six images of the MIE 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 photographers 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.

The MIE ran from 1 October 1880 to 30 April 1881. The (Royal) Exhibition Building, designed by Joseph Reed and built by David Mitchell, was especially constructed for the occasion. Over 1.3 million people visited the MIE at a time when Melbourne's population was only around 282,000.

Description of Content

Sepia photographic print mounted on a card backing of the interior of the Great Hall of the Melbourne Exhibition Building set up for the opening ceremony for the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. The image is taken from the ground level under the dome, looking west towards the Grand Organ, showing flags, chairs, displays of light fittings and other goods, the choir stalls and the Grand Organ. The photograph has been pasted onto a cardboard backing and the caption 'Melbourne Exhibition, View of Organ & Stage 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 '22' 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.

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