View of the entrance to the South Australian Court on the eastern side of the main avenue 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. As one of the smaller Australian colonies, South Australia had only one court allocated to them, in the middle of the temporary annexe between New Zealand and Tasmania, West Australia and New South Wales whose irregular shaped courts meant that they all bordered South Australia.

In the middleground can be seen the display case of Adelaide jeweller Henry Steiner, who exhibited under Class 39, Jewellery and Precious Stones. Having exhibited previously a other international exhibitions, Steiner's display and reputation demanded attention, as the Argus newspaper wrote:

'Turning to manufacturers, the first case that claims attention is Mr. H. Steiner's exhibit of jewellery and silverware. At Sydney, Philadelphia, and even in Paris itself, Mr. Steiner's tasteful mountings of emu eggs brought him golden opinions, to say nothing of more substantial rewards; but here he has surpassed himself. For taste and originality of design he can well challenge comparison with the best exhibits from Europe and America ...'

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 main avenue of the South Australian court.

Physical Description

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.

More Information